What is a fender bender? For those who drive regularly, you’ve likely encountered a fender bender in some form or another.
A fender bender is considered a minor accident between two vehicles. What constitutes as ‘minor,’ can be debated, but typically incidents like getting rear-ended at low speeds, bumped by a distracted driver, or perhaps lightly tapping into a car while parking could be classified as a fender bender.
Despite it being minor, a fender bender can cause major headaches if not dealt with properly. Below we’ll go into full detail regarding what a fender bender is and what to do in a fender bender scenario.
It can be quite startling when you’ve first unexpectedly been struck by another vehicle. Take a couple of minutes to gather yourself before hastily trying to figure out what to do after a fender bender.
Once you’ve oriented yourself to the situation at hand, check to see if everyone in the vehicle is okay. Especially check to see if there are any mobility issues or back or neck pains. If there are any injuries, contact 911 immediately.
Your first response may be to get out of the vehicle immediately after a fender bender car accident. However, always check your mirrors and do a quick visual sweep before exiting your vehicle. Because you may still be disoriented, you may unknowingly enter right into oncoming traffic if you don’t do a thorough check.
If your vehicle is right in the middle of the road and can still run, consider pulling over onto the curb to avoid further collisions. Make sure your hazard lights are turned on and always be aware of any nearby hazards.
If the accident was serious and involved major damages, injuries, or deaths, it is required by law to call the police. But even if there were no serious injuries and the accident was relatively minor, notifying the police is a good idea for several reasons:
- They’ll provide you with appropriate next steps.
- They’ll act as a neutral mediator if there is a disagreement between you and the other party.
- They’ll need to control traffic in the area if required.
- They’ll assess any damage to not only your vehicles but any other nearby damage to property, light poles, signs, etc.
The police may decide not to come if the fender bender was minor and there were no injuries or fatalities (also depending on state laws). Nevertheless, err on the side of caution by contacting the police, even if it’s a small fender bender.
Obtain driver information
Exchange information with the other driver. Information you’ll need to obtain includes:
- Full Name
- Phone number or email
- Insurance company name and policy number
While interacting with the other driver, it’s essential to never admit guilt. Even a simple apology can be used against you in the courts. Don’t allow the other driver or witnesses to pressure you into admitting fault.
It’s the job of the police and insurance investigators to determine who’s at fault. If there is any doubt, consult a car accident attorney immediately after the accident for guidance on the appropriate steps to take.
Assess for any damages and take pictures
Take note of any damages that resulted from the fender bender. Not all car damages are immediately noticeable. Look for things such as large dents, leaking fluid, engine sound, smoke, or gasoline smell.
Write down details of the accident, including the geographical location of where the fender bender took place, how it happened (as you recall it), when it took place, and the road conditions.
Take plenty of photos of the damage and the accident scene. Photos can help with your case long after the incident, without relying solely on your memory.
Call the insurance company
Ideally, your personal injury attorney will report the accident to your insurance company. However, if you decide to call, call your insurance company right after a fender bender. Since it’s a minor accident, it may be tempting just to skip this step and settle it privately between you and the other driver. However, follow proper protocol and go through your insurance. You’ll never know what kind of damage or injury that may arise after the incident.
When you call your insurance company, they’ll get you started on a fender bender insurance claim. They’ll guide you through the various insurance coverage for fender benders. Follow their instructions on where to get an estimate done for any damages, which auto shop to use for repairs, and any deductible you might have to pay.
While fender benders can be minor, dealing with insurance, repairs, and any potential legal recourse can be a hassle. Insurance companies, in particular, are notorious for forcing personal injury victims to settle for a value much less than the total damages.
At Valiente Mott, we help you deal with any legal issues that may arise from your fender bender. We’ll also handle insurance companies so you can get the maximum amount for your claim settlement.
If you’ve found yourself in a fender bender and are searching for legal advice, contact the Las Vegas personal injury attorney team at Valiente Mott today for your free consultation!