Minor car accidents, also referred to as “fender benders,” should always be reported to the police as well as your insurer. Not only do some states require drivers to contact the police after an accident has occurred, but most insurance companies require their policyholders to notify them in the event of a collision.
Reporting Your Minor Accident to Local Law Enforcement
Although the laws do vary in each state, most require their drivers to contact the police to notify them that an accident has transpired. For example, the state of Texas requires its drivers to notify the police when an accident has occurred when it has resulted in the injury or death of another or the property damage sustained is estimated to be worth $1,000 [Source: Texas Department of Transportation]. Once 911 is called, the department closest to the accident scene will dispatch an officer to come out, assess the incident, and write up a report.
This documentation is very important to have as it confirms a car accident has occurred, provides details regarding the accident, and can be used by an insurance adjuster to determine who was at fault for the crash.
Now, when it comes to minor crashes, it might be more difficult to determine the value of the damage as it may not look extensive. However, because you won’t know what the damage to your vehicle or that of the other driver(s) is worth until you have it inspected by a mechanic, it is always better to contact the police to ensure you are complying with your state’s laws and protecting yourself. The same applies to injuries.
Although most individuals assume that they didn’t suffer any injuries because the crash was a minor one, symptoms don’t always appear right away. In fact, it could take hours or days for injury symptoms to show up which is yet another reason why you will want to have documentation that proves you were involved in a wreck. This way, if you need to file a claim with your insurer or that of the other driver(s) involved, the carrier is less likely to deny your claim.
Reporting Your Minor Collision to Your Insurance Carrier
Although your state may not require you to report your accident to your insurance carrier, the company itself may. When you signed your contract with your insurer, there was likely a clause that stipulated you would notify the company when an accident has transpired. Now, it is important to understand that notifying your insurer that you were involved in an accident doesn’t necessarily mean you must file a claim. For example, if it was a minor collision that only resulted in $300 worth of damage yet you had a $1,000 deductible on your policy, then you might reconsider filing a claim as it could increase your rates and would result in you still having to pay out of pocket.
In any event, if you were involved in a minor accident, it is always a good idea to at least consult with an accident attorney in your city. An accident lawyer will not only be able to review with you what your next steps should be, but also advise you as to whether you might need to retain a legal expert based on the circumstances surrounding the accident. Even in minor accidents, injuries can be sustained and you want to be sure the insurer responsible for handling the claim covers your medical expenses.
To get connected with an accident attorney nearest you, contact USAttorneys.com for help.