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Silverthorne Attorneys is a personal injury law firm in Orange County whose top priority and singular focus is the people we represent. We work diligently to make sure that our clients are well taken care of and that their needs are not only met, but come first. Injured now? Do not hesitate to reach out to Silverthorne Attorneys for a free consultation.
How to Deal with a Minor Car Crash
We’ve written a lot about what to do after most car accidents, however, we have not yet gone over what to do should you get into a minor car crash. Whether you were in a fender bender in the parking lot or someone just was not paying attention to the road in front of them, knowing what to do will be extremely helpful if you are suffering from injuries. And yes, believe it or not, you can suffer from injuries – minor or severe – from a seemingly minor fender bender.
With so many things to think about, it is very easy to get overwhelmed. Try to remember to stay calm, assess the situation, collect as much information as possible, and make sure that you are being treated for any injuries you sustained.
Minor Automobile Accidents | Assess the Situation
As you could do in any other car accident, assess the situation in your minor crash. For instance, take note of the make, model, and color of the vehicle just in case there is a chance the other driver hits you and then leaves the scene of the accident. If the vehicle does leave the scene and you are able to do so, take a picture of the vehicle so that you won’t have to remember the license plate number off the top of your head.
Make Sure Everyone is Safe
After you are able to assess the situation, check yourself for injuries first. You may not realize it, but fenders benders are a big cause of whiplash injuries. Check yourself for whiplash injuries before you check anyone else; ask your passengers if they feel any pain or discomfort; headaches can be indicative of a concussion and is something that needs to be checked on right away. Pay close attention to what your passengers are saying and if they are finding it difficult to hold a coherent conversation.
After checking on the safety of those in your motor vehicle, if you need to move your car to the side of the road, this will be the perfect time to do so.
Call the Police
Depending on the location of the accident, we always urge our clients to contact the police after an accident. For instance, if you were in a fender bender in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, you may not need to contact the police to come out and take down a report; you can go down to the local police station and file a report. However, if they do come to the scene of the accident, their report will be able to help the insurance company determine who was at fault in the accident.
While you are waiting for the police to arrive at the scene of the accident, do not move out into fast-moving traffic (if needed go out of the opposite door). When the police arrive to the scene of the accident, they will then be able to direct any traffic safely away from the scene. If you have flares or cones in your trunk, make sure to mark the scene at night so you can avoid any other accidents.
Collect Information from Everyone
Collecting information in a minor crash will be the same as if you were to collect information in any other vehicle accident. Get the names, insurance information, license, make and model of the car of all party’s involved in the accident.
If an officer comes down to the scene of the accident to take a report, this will also be provided on the police report; however, it can take a while for the report to be filed and available. Which is why any car accident attorney will recommend that you get the information at the scene so you can file a claim with your insurance company right away.
If there are any witnesses to the accident, you will want to get their full name and any relevant contact information for them. If you are uncomfortable getting a statement or if they are uncomfortable giving you a statement at the time of the accident, the automobile attorneys at Silverthorne Attorneys can call and get an official statement from them.
Document the Incident
If you have the ability to keep notes on your phone, document any information that you receive from the police office and the other driver(s). Take as many pictures of the scene of the accident, the damage to your vehicle, any visible injuries you and/your passengers sustain, traffic lights, etc. Remember, there is no such thing as taking too many pictures in this case. Taking pictures of the scene will be able to help the investigators determine who was at fault and what the conditions of the road were at the time of the accident; as well the weather conditions at the time.
Reporting a Crash
When the police get to the accident scene, it is best to give them as much information as possible. Be honest at all times; if they find that you are not being honest and the insurance companies find out, it can be used against you in your claim. Avoid any admission of fault or statements that would indicate feeling sorry about the accident. Even simple statements such as “I am so sorry this happened” will be seen as an admission of guilt/fault in an accident. If you tell the officer or the insurance company that you think you may be at fault for the accident, that can go on the report and you will then be responsible for any injuries the other party claims.
File a Claim with Your Insurance
Some insurance companies want you to report the accident right away. This is especially important if you or your passengers have been injured in the accident. Remember, the actions that you take after a minor crash are crucial. When it comes to being injured in an accident, you want to file a claim as soon as possible. Insurance adjusters do everything in their power to make obtaining a settlement extremely difficult for you.
This is because insurance adjusters know that the more time they take, the more likely you will be to accept a settlement that is far less than what you need. That is why you need an accident attorney to represent you. When hiring someone who has experience dealing with insurance adjusters, you need someone who will never back down. The team at Silverthorne Attorneys has no problem taking on insurance companies and winning. We know the tactics that they use in order to belittle your claim and make this time more difficult for you and your family.
When you need a team of people who will do what is best for you after being injured in a minor automobile crash, contact us to discuss your case. Consultations with one of our car accident lawyers are free!