The moments after a car accident can be overwhelming. Even in minor accidents like a fender bender, most drivers feel shocked and frustrated. While feeling overwhelmed is normal and expected, the steps you take after a car crash are critical. By being prepared for the unexpected, you can react quickly after your accident and take steps to receive proper compensation.
When you are in an accident that does not involve injuries, you can prepare for a car accident case even before it starts. This guide will provide some basic steps to take immediately after a fender bender.
As soon as the accident occurs, pull over to the side of the road or into a secure parking area. Call 911 and report the accident. They will ask for your location and some basic information, such as whether anyone has been injured. While you wait for the police, exchange insurance information with the other driver. Even if you feel angry, remain calm.
The other driver might not want to involve the police. However, a police officer will carefully document the scene and create a detailed report of what happened. This information may be essential in court or when filing an insurance claim. In some states, it is the law to notify law enforcement when car accidents involve injuries or damage of a certain monetary value if it’s a fender bender.
Even if the police filed a report, it can be helpful to gather your own evidence. Use your smartphone to snap images of your car, the other driver’s car, their license plate numbers, and the whole accident scene. You may also want to take photos of the fender bender or any nearby landmarks and street signs to remember exactly where the accident occurred. If there is any visible damage on your car, take close and wide photos of the scrapes and dents.
It’s also important to approach any witnesses and ask for their names and phone numbers. Keep these in your phone if possible. If they write their information on a piece of paper, be sure to take a photo of it as a background.
Notify your insurance company
Remember that you never know how much an accident will cost, so it’s generally a wise choice to file a car insurance claim. By doing this as soon as possible, you can get the process going to obtain collision coverage. If your insurance company offers accident forgiveness, be sure to discuss your eligibility for this program.
In some cases, insurance companies will send agents right to the scene of the accident. This ensures that the company has an accurate report of the incident. It also gives you a chance to speak about the situation in person.
Find a car accident lawyer
Once you take care of the above logistics, it’s time to find a car accident attorney. Generally, it’s best to hire a lawyer if your car has been damaged and you do not feel that the insurance company is offering enough money. By having the right lawyer on your side, you can argue your case and receive appropriate compensation for your damages.
When hiring legal help, remember to look locally. So, if your accident occurs in the Bay Area, narrow your search to find a San Francisco car accident lawyer. They understand the most common types of accidents that occur in your region and how insurance companies typically handle them. You will also be able to meet with your attorney in person to go over the accident details.
Remember that while fender benders are minor car accidents, you may still be entitled to damage coverage. This is why it’s important to file a police report, thoroughly document the scene, inform your insurance company, and find the right car accident attorney. All of these details will be valuable in proving your case.