Many people don’t know what to do after they are involved in a “minor” fender bender. First of all, I wouldn’t call a collision “minor” based solely upon the property damage the vehicle sustained. The human body isn’t designed to be suddenly and forcefully jerked around and the property damage a vehicle sustained shouldn’t be the deciding factor when talking about severity of a collision. For the purposes of this article, we are discussing a collision with minimal property damage when both vehicles are able to be driven from the scene of the collision even if they are not pretty, and someone sustained an injury.
There are many things that should be done after such a collision but here are 11 things that you should do in these situations:
- Stop your vehicle in a safe location. If you are in the middle of the freeway or a busy road, please don’t get out of your vehicle. Turn on your emergency flashers and slowly drive your vehicle to the shoulder. If this isn’t possible remain in your vehicle, turn on your flashers and call the police.
- Call the police! Always report a collision right away. It helps to have a record of the accident for later on. The police are trained to investigate collisions and can help determine which driver was at fault.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Use your phone or camera to take a photograph of their driver’s license, license plate, and insurance card. If you don’t have a camera available, write down all of this information. Some people find it helpful to keep a notebook and pen in their glovebox for this purpose.
- Wait for the police or state patrol to arrive and tell them exactly what happened.
- Take thorough photographs of the damages to both vehicles. Don’t rely on the other driver to take the photographs and email or text them to you. Don’t rely on the police officer to take photographs.
- Call your insurance company, tell them what happened and open a PIP (Personal Injury Protection) claim. If you do not have PIP on your insurance we recommend that you contact your insurance agent and discuss adding this to your policy.
- Be aware that the other driver’s insurance may make you feel like you are required to give a statement in order for them to “investigate” the claim. This is not true and you may wish to consult a lawyer first.
- Don’t sign anything from the other insurance company.
- Replace child car seats that are in your vehicle at the time of the impact. Every child’s car seat on the market today needs to be replaced if anyone in the vehicle sustains an injury regardless of how minor the impact is.
- Call our firm at 206-527-2000 to discuss whether we can assist you and schedule a free consultation.
- Finally, the most important thing you should do if you are injured is to see a medical provider for an examination and evaluation. You only have one body and there is no replacement for your health.