Some of the most common questions people have following a very minor car accident have no black or white answer. Most of the answers associated with car accidents and what’s required of them are gray, and they all have a special consideration or two. Many people are involved in small accidents each day. These are so minor people don’t even ruin the progression of their day to deal with them. They have a little bit of an inconvenience, but it’s not bad enough there are injuries involved or any significant damage to their vehicle. This could be something backing into you in a parking lot, someone hitting you with a grocery cart, or even a minor bump when someone lets off the brake too soon at a stop light or stop sign.
Minor fender benders happen, and most people aren’t too worried. In fact, many people wonder if there is any reason they need to contact the police. If the damage is so minor you needn’t report it and can have it repaired for very little on your own, why report it? Before you assume you can get away with forgoing a call to the police, it’s best to learn what the law requires.
Is Calling the Police Necessary?
The answer to this question depends largely on where you reside. Some states require all accidents are reported to the police regardless of the damage. All states require accidents with injuries are reported, but only some require a report of all accidents. A few other states want you to report accidents only if the damage exceeds $1,000. Know the law in your state before you decide not to call the police.
There’s nothing wrong with reporting an accident of any severity, but you don’t want to break the law by not calling the police when state law requires you call. What you should always do is exchange personal information with the other driver. This includes your names, contact information, and your insurance information.
Reporting to Insurance
You don’t have to call the police for every accident in every state, and you’re not required to go through your insurance company if you choose not to. The general rule of thumb is to pay out of pocket for any damage that’s less than your deductible. For example, if you have an insurance policy with a $500 deductible and a repair bill that costs $250, pay cash and forget calling insurance. If you do call insurance, they’ll probably tell you to pay for it out of your own pocket since your deductible is higher.
Issues with Accidents
If you are in the vehicle at the time it is hit, call the police. You have no idea if you are injured unless you see a doctor, and you could end up in trouble if you are injured and fail to report an accident. It’s also helpful to have a police report regardless. If the accident was caused by someone else, they might say all the right things at the scene of the accident and then deny they caused the damage when you try to report it to their insurance for payment. Without a police report, it’s more difficult to prove your case and get insurance to pay your bill.
Sometimes minor accidents won’t matter to law enforcement. For example, if you are involved in a minor accident injury during inclement weather conditions, your 911 operator might inform you it’s too dangerous for officers to be on the road or they are currently too busy with other emergencies and advise you to go home and get off the roads. This can leave you with even more questions than you had before, which is confusing and not very helpful to anyone involved in an accident.
If you have any questions about your accident, contact a personal injury car accident attorney. We have the answers you need. Car accident law is complex and confusing, and you won’t always find the right answers you need for the questions you have. Our office can help you find questions to answers, and we can help you if you determine a lawsuit is the next step.