Minor car accidents can still cause personal injuries and property damage. Some of the most common minor accident injuries include whiplash, lacerations, and head injuries. The steps you take after a minor crash are important to your future. Fulfilling the requirements after a fender bender will help you avoid legal trouble. No matter how minor your collision, take the following actions to avoid absorbing liability for a crash you did not cause.
In the state of California, you only have to call the police to report an accident if it causes personal injuries, fatalities, or more than $1,000 in property damage. The $1,000 threshold is relatively easy to meet – especially if the vehicle involved is new or a luxury vehicle. If you are not sure if your crash achieved the property damage threshold, call the police to be safe. This requirement is for your own good as much as the city. Calling the police will give you an official record of your minor accident for future reference.
Having the police on the scene can prevent the other driver from blaming you for the accident and avoiding liability. Law enforcement will document the crash through interviews, speaking to eyewitnesses, and taking photographs. They can then help answer questions such as who is at fault. You do not have to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles for minor accidents. Even if your accident is not serious enough to call the police, you should still exchange information with the other driver for the insurance process.
Minor car accidents can still cause painful and temporary disabling injuries. If you feel sore, stiff, or hurt, visit a hospital or your general physician immediately. You may need treatment such as a neck brace for whiplash. Even if you do not feel injured, visit a hospital for a check-up. You could have hidden injuries or injuries with delayed symptoms – including serious brain injuries. Keep copies of your medical records and bills. Follow the physician’s treatment plan exactly. If your injuries temporarily put you out of work, keep track of your lost wages and missed work opportunities.
Yes, you should still file an insurance claim for a minor car accident. California is a tort-based insurance state, so you will call the insurer of the at-fault party. File your insurance claim soon after your collision. Most insurance companies require prompt filing for a valid claim. Explain what happened, but only give the information the insurance company requests. Keep your answers truthful and concise. The other driver’s insurance company will not be on your side, and what you say during the phone call could hurt your claim later.
If your minor car accident imposed unexpected costs, injuries, or damages on you or your family, contact a San Jose car accident lawyer to discuss your options. Although most attorneys will only accept sizable cases, your accident could be worth more in court than you realize. The at-fault party may owe you for past and future accident-related costs. Discuss your fender bender with a personal lawyer in San Jose during a free consultation to learn more.
It is possible to receive a financial settlement for a minor car accident in San Jose. The at-fault driver may owe you for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. The courts may also award punitive damages if the defendant’s behavior was grossly negligent or intentional. For example, if the defendant purposely rammed your vehicle in an act of road rage. To receive a settlement, you or your lawyer will need to gather evidence and present a case proving the defendant’s fault for your damages. A lawyer’s counsel can benefit you even during a minor accident claim in California.