You get into your car, reach over to change the radio station and begin to back out of your space in the local grocery store’s parking lot. All of a sudden, another car from the lane behind you decides to back out and just as you try to put your foot on the brake to prevent an accident, your two vehicles collide. The damage is minor but it’s still a car accident.
Approximately 75 percent of all car accidents are non-injury accidents, and only involve property damage, as reported by State Farm Insurance Company. These “fender-benders” and low speed accidents are considered minor car accidents because parties involved rarely sue and usually come to quick settlements.
Common car-on-car fender-benders occur usually when people:
- Get distracted while texting, changing the radio station, applying makeup, etc.
- Drift off to sleep in bumper-to-bumper, rush-hour or slow-moving traffic
- Exceed speed limits in parking lots, malls or shopping areas
- Reverse out of driveways
- Get caught in a chain-reaction of a rear-end collision
If you’ve been in a fender-bender, you probably know what you need to do, but sometimes it’s hard to think clearly in the midst of damages to your car, broken glass, angry people, etc. Here are a few things for you to remember to stress less during a minor accident:
- Breath and stay calm – use your cell phone to call work and let them know you were in an accident. Ask a grandparent or spouse to pick up the kids. Make arrangements that are needed.
- Anger doesn’t help – you can’t control how other drivers react to the accident, but you can choose to relax. Think: minor accident, no injuries.
- Don’t apologize – no matter how much you feel like you need to apologize, don’t. If your fender-bender ends up in court, the driver can use this against you. Wait to speak to your insurance company about your accident.
- Alert the police – call the police or fire rescue if someone is hurt; call the police even if no one is injured. The police will create a report including all the details of your accident to decide who’s at fault. A few days after, you can ask for a copy of the report from the police station for a fee.
- Collect insurance information – exchange insurance and contact information; look at his driver’s license and confirm all the information he gave you is updated. You can show your drivers license to the other driver but do not let him hold onto it; it may be very difficult to get back.
- Ask for witness statements – ask witnesses to write down their information and a brief statement for your insurance company.
- Take stamped photographs and videos – use your phone to take pictures and videos at the scene of your accident. Make sure the evidence is stamped by ensuring the date/time is set on your recording device.
- Contact your insurance company – if you think the other driver is at fault for your accident, contact his insurance company, along with your own insurance agent to file your claim. Record the claim numbers.
A minor fender-bender can be a big headache, and leave you paying for damages. If you know you weren’t the cause of your accident, why should you have to pay for the reckless or negligent actions of another individual. Protect yourself and your family, we’re here to help you fight for your right to a peaceful and comfortable recovery.