You’re sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic in the streets of Los Angeles trying to get home as cars move forward inch by inch. As you creep a little forward and press on the brakes, the person in back of you rear ends you. The driver behind you was distracted while texting during traffic. The force onto your car was very slight, and you have not sustained any injuries. As you both pull to the side of the road, your first question is what to do after a minor car accident. This accident seems to be a minor accident since no parties were injured. But, regardless of whether it was a minor or major accident, there are certain steps that need to be taken to make sure that both parties can get back on the road safely.
Being involved in a car accident, whether major or minor, is not a situation that anybody wants to be in. But there are specific steps drivers could take to make it an easy process and prevent any future problems from arising. Our personal injury car accident attorneys at Heidari Law have created a list steps drivers need to take after a minor car accident has occurred.
- Stay calm: This is one of the most important steps and should be followed throughout the entire process. Although it may seem a bit of common sense, many drivers after getting involved in an accident may feel sad and start to cry, may even be angered and want to take their anger out on the other party. Showing any type of extreme emotion could work against the driver’s favor in the future when dealing with insurance claims or a personal injury trial. Always approach the other driver in a cool manner.
- Move out of the way: This step is often overlooked. Oftentimes, many drivers involved in minor car accidents stand in the way of traffic. It is important that immediately after the accident, both parties move out of the way to a safe area. It is very common for another second accident to occur after both cars are pulled over for the original accident. Car accidents commonly occur on congested roads such as freeways or streets that have several commercial buildings. Regardless of where the accident occurred, it is important that both parties move out of the way. The worst thing that could occur at that point is having another second accident.
- Notify the police: Although many may think that because it is a minor accident, the police still would need to be called. It is safer to call a police officer to document the scene. A police officer will arrive at the scene and document the entire accident in a car accident police report. For more information on how to obtain and read your police car accident report, you may read this latest article on a traffic collision report. It is important to have a third party present at the scene to determine the cause of the accident rather than having future contradictions later on in the case.
- Check for sparks: Although the accident is minor, minor accidents could also lead to fires. If any of the vehicles showed sparks or have any smoke, it is important to move farther away from the vehicle as much as possible.
- Call for medical services: Although the accident could be minor, some parties could be more susceptible to injuries. If any party has immediate need for medical assistance, call medical services immediately.
- Exchange information: It is very important to exchange all types of information between parties. The minimum information that should be collected includes:
- full legal names of all parties involved in the accident
- photos of drivers’ licenses
- phone numbers
- home addresses
- license plate information
- photos of insurance information
- Document and take photos of every angle of each car involved in the accident. If the cars have later been moved out of the street, it is also important to document where the accident occurred in order to describe the situation to others.
- Do not negotiate: It is important not to get involved in roadside negotiations. After an accident, despite it being minor, many drivers are still in shock and may not realize what they are agreeing to. Therefore, our attorneys advise that no negotiations should be entered into after the accident until a personal injury attorney has been hired.
- Do not leave the accident scene: Do not leave the accident until all the above steps have been met.
- After getting home or getting to a safe space, call your insurance provider to report the accident. Regardless of if there has been no damage, it is still advised to call your insurance provider to make a record of the accident. This is to prevent any future claims by the other party.
- Report the accident to the DMV: California requires that accidents, even minor accidents, must be reported to the DMV in order for them to file an accident report.
- Obtain your police report after the accident. In California, parties must wait 45 days after the accident in order to obtain their police report created by the officer.
Will my car insurance rate go up if I was involved in a minor accident?
Generally, an insurance rate will not go up if a driver has been involved in a minor collision. There are several different factors that could affect the collision, which includes the damage that has occurred. The more damage that has been occurred, the more severe the accident could be considered.
What if the other party was not insured?
If you have sustained any injuries or personal property damage from the accident, and the other party is not insured, you can file a claim against the other party since it is illegal for a driver to drive without car insurance. For more information on how to file a claim against uninsured minors, please contact one of our attorneys.
Do I still need a lawyer even if it was a minor accident?
Even if the accident was minor, it is still important to have a consultation with a car accident attorney to determine if there could be any possible future problems such as false claims by the other party. Our experienced car accident attorneys will be able to determine the best legal strategy for your car accident. Another common issue that arises from minor car accidents are future injuries that were not obvious at the time of the accident. If you or a loved one have experienced any injuries that have stemmed after a minor accident, contact our attorneys for a free consultation today. Our car accident attorneys are readily available to have a consultation with you and navigate you through your legal claim. Contact us today at Heidari Law Group for a free case consultation.
***Disclaimer: This blog is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this blog, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.