A minor car accident is an accident where nobody is hurt and little damage has occurred to anyone’s vehicle. If you are involved in a minor accident, you should typically do the same things you’d do after being involved in a more serious auto accident.
No matter how minor the accident is, it’s important to take the accident seriously and follow the correct steps afterward, even if you’ve only been in a simple small car accident with minor car damage. So, those involved in minor car accidents such as a front end minor car accident still need to take the right steps, such as exchanging contact and insurance information with involved drivers and taking photographs of damage.
What to Do After a Minor Car Accident: Step-by-Step
If you are involved in a minor auto accident, take the following steps immediately afterward:
Get To Safety And Check For Injuries
If your vehicle still drives, get it out of harm’s way. Once your location is safe, make sure nobody is injured.
Make sure to seek medical attention after your accident, even if think you weren’t injured or have only suffered minor injuries. Adrenaline and endorphins can mask injuries at the accident scene, so it’s good to see a doctor regardless. If you wait too long to get your injuries documented, a car insurance company can claim your injuries weren’t caused by the car accident. Then they may refuse your bodily injury claim.
Do not tell anyone you aren’t injured at the scene of the accident. This could hurt your case down the road if it turns out you do have injuries.
You should always call 911 after accidents, even minor auto accidents.
The police will write a police report, documenting the crash. This could be crucial evidence for proving fault to an insurance company after the accident.
Do not listen to the other party if they don’t want to call 911. Having a police report filed helps to protect your legal rights.
Document The Wreckage
Write down an account of your side of the story immediately after your accident. Do this as soon as possible since memories fade quickly.
Take pictures of everything relevant to the accident, such as vehicle damage to all vehicles involved, surrounding streets, license plates, nearby traffic signals and signs, weather and roadway conditions and injuries.
Ask any witnesses to the minor collision if they are willing to offer a witness statement.
Exchange Information With Other Drivers
You should get the full name and contact information of every driver involved in the minor accident.
California Vehicle Code 16025 mandates the exchange of info after an auto accident. Drivers use their auto insurance card or a certificate of self-insurance to prove their financial responsibility for their vehicle.
If someone chooses not to share their insurance information, fines of up to $250 can occur.
Be sure to get the license plate number of every vehicle and the insurance information for each driver involved.
Notify Your Insurance Provider
You should call your own insurance company as soon as possible. Let them know the details of the situation.
The time limit to file a claim for property damage or bodily injury is three years in California. While you have three years to do so, it’s better to contact your insurance as soon as possible.
The longer you wait to let your insurance know about any injuries, the less trustworthy your claim might look. In some cases, insurance providers claim injuries were caused by means other than the car accident when their insuree waits too long to report the incident.
Don’t Accept Fault
Do not accept fault for the accident at the scene. Do not apologize for the accident. In fact, keep your conversation at the accident scene to the bare minimum necessary to obtain others’ contact and insurance information. Anything you say at the scene of the accident can and will be used against you by an insurance company to minimize the value of your claim.
Remain At The Scene Until Cleared To Leave
It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident before being cleared to leave unless you require urgent medical treatment.
If you do not require urgent medical treatment, you need to wait until an officer dismisses you from the scene of the accident before you leave.
Don’t Talk With The At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company
If you’ve been injured in an accident which was not your fault, avoid talking with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance adjusters are trained by insurance companies to trick injury victims into saying the wrong thing so they can refuse to pay injury victims. If you accidentally say something implying you’re at fault for an accident or implying your injuries aren’t as severe as claimed, it can diminish the value of your claim.
If injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you should hire a lawyer and let them talk with the at-fault party’s insurance company instead.
Consult A Car Accident Lawyer
If injured in a minor accident accident, call a car accident lawyer at Nadrich & Cohen for a free consultation. We have been representing car accident victims since 1990 and have recovered over $400,000,000 for clients. We charge on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid a percentage of your winnings if you receive compensation.
Common Causes Of Minor Accidents
According to California Highway Patrol data, the most common causes of car accidents in Los Angeles from 2012 through 2021 were:
The most common cause of car accidents in Los Angeles from 2012 through 2021 was unsafe speed. This was responsible for 27.5 percent of all accidents in L.A. during that timespan. Unsafe speed is a particularly dangerous cause of accidents since accidents tend to increase in severity as speed increases.
Automobile Right Of Way Violations
The next most common cause of accidents was automobile right of way violations, responsible for 21.44 percent of accidents. These accidents occur when one vehicle fails to yield the right of way to another vehicle when they should. For example, when two vehicles arrive at a four way stop sign at about the same time, the vehicle who arrives first at the stop sign has the right of way.
The next most common cause of accidents was improper turning, responsible for 9.39 percent of accidents. Examples of improper turning include making turns prohibited by signs, turning without using your turn signal, and turning at distances unnecessarily far from curbs.
Traffic Signal And Sign Violations
The next most common cause of accidents was traffic signal and sign violations, responsible for 9.01 percent of accidents. These accidents occurred when drivers did not obey traffic signals or traffic signs.
Driving Or Bicycling Under The Influence Of Drugs Or Alcohol
The next most common cause of accidents was driving or bicycling under the influence of drugs or alcohol, responsible for 5.37 percent of accidents.
Examples Of Minor Car Accidents
Examples of minor car accidents involve car accidents which involve:
- Busted headlights
- Small dents in your vehicle
- Scratches on the vehicle exterior
- Cracked windshields
- Rear end damage
- Damage to the fender
Common Injuries In Minor Auto Accidents
Injuries which are common in minor auto accidents include:
- Soft tissue injury
If you were injured in your minor car accident, the next step is for you to call an experienced personal injury lawyer like the car accident lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen. Studies show that injury victims who call lawyers end up getting more money than those who don’t, even after accounting for attorney fees.
We’ve been handling car accident cases for over 30 years. Let us put our experience to work for you so we can recover for you the compensation and justice you deserve. Call us today.
For more information on the steps you should take after a minor accident, check out the infographic below.