More than 10 million automobile accidents are recorded every year in the United States, most of them non-fatal. “Fender-benders”, as they are known, affect drivers of all skill levels and safety levels. Experiencing a minor accident while on a road trip can up the annoyance factor significantly. In addition to the costs of damage to the vehicle, be it a personal vehicle or a rental, there is also the business that surrounds properly handling an accident. So, what should be done in the event of an accident, say, while on a road trip?
Handling a fender-bender
Before exploring the proper way to handle a minor traffic accident situation, it is important to understand exactly what a fender-bender is. Fender-benders typically involve a relatively small amount of damage, usually to the fender area of the car, hence the name. This type of damage may result from being rear-ended at an intersection; or being hit on the passenger side while backing out of a driveway. Fender-benders are also a common accident in parking lots and parking garages where tight spaces may hinder the ability for a car to maneuver without hitting another vehicle.
Immediately after a fender-bender occurs, it is important to determine two things: is anyone seriously hurt and are the vehicles blocking traffic. If not otherwise stopped, pull off the road, turn on the hazard lights and call 911. Even if there are no serious injuries, involving a third-party is required in most states and will make the entire process run more smoothly. While waiting for the police and other official vehicles, exchange car insurance information with the other driver. If the other person refuses or does not have this insurance proof with them, take down their license plate number and any other information that can be gathered and give it to the police when they arrive.
Once the police arrive, file a report on the accident. This will be important evidence used by the insurance companies to determine who is at fault and who must pay compensation for the accident. Though some states do not require calling the police or filing a report, it is advisable to do so and avoid the complications that may develop as people try to avoid insurance premiums going up or other consequences resulting from the accident.
Document the accident as much as possible by taking photographs of the damage and the scene. Smartphones have made accomplishing this easier than ever. It is also a good idea to keep a disposable camera or two in the glove compartment just in case.
Financial compensation for a fender-bender
While it is possible for drivers involved in a fender-bender to work out any payment issues privately, occasionally a lawyer may need to be brought in to collect payment for any damages exceeding a driver’s car insurance deductible. Whether a driver needs a car accident attorney in Boston or Phoenix, Seattle or Miami, or anywhere in between, it is important to contact them as quickly as possible, as many accident attorneys will want to visit the scene of the accident.