What Should You Do After a Minor Car Accident?

Not all car accidents result in catastrophic injuries, trips to the emergency room, and thousands of dollars in damages. The majority of car accidents in Kansas City are minor. They may cause minor injuries or none at all, or under $1,000 in property damage. If your car accident was minor, this does not mean you lose your rights to file a claim as a victim. Take steps to protect your rights following a fender bender.

Speak to a Kansas City accident lawyer to discuss your specific case.

Check for Injuries

Even minor car accidents can cause painful and lingering personal injuries. Whiplash is a common example. Whiplash is a neck injury that often arises in rear-end collisions – even relatively minor or slow-moving ones. Whiplash occurs when the neck whips back and forth too quickly, bruising or tearing the tendons and ligaments. Whiplash can be temporarily debilitating and cause lingering pain and suffering.

Check yourself carefully for personal injuries after a minor car accident. If you feel any pain, soreness, tingling, or stiffness, see a doctor. The adrenaline of the accident may be masking more serious pain. If you hit your head at all, you should also see a doctor, even if you do not feel injured. You may have a hidden brain injury, such as a concussion. If you or any of your passengers have injuries, call 911 to report the accident.

Make Sure You Are Safe

Next, make sure you are in a safe location to talk to the other driver and get help. Check for sparks or fire coming from either vehicle. This can be an extreme hazard and requires you to quickly evacuate the area. If you can, move disabled vehicles out of the road so you do not block traffic. Relocate to a shoulder of the road or someplace safe to wait for police to arrive.

Stay Calm

It can be easy to feel scared or angry in the aftermath of a car accident – even a minor one. Do your best to remain calm and not to let your emotions get the best of you. Yelling at the other driver or apologizing could both hurt your case later. Keep your emotions in check and try to limit your conversation with the other driver. Ask for his or her contact information politely, but do not admit fault or let road rage get the best of you.

Call 911, If Applicable

Some minor accidents still demand that you call 911 to report it according to Missouri law. You have to report a car accident if it causes injuries, deaths, or at least $500 in property damage. Even minor fender benders can cause more than $500 in property damage. When in doubt, call the authorities to file a report. Getting police on the scene can create a record of your accident. The police can help you gather evidence and assign fault for your damages.

Gather Information

Whether you call the police or not, it is wise to collect evidence on your own as much as possible. Take photographs of your and the other driver’s property damage. Take wider shots of the entire scene of the accident. Get the other driver’s full name, contact information, and car insurance information. If you collided with a parked car, leave a note with your information. Write down the names and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the collision.

Call an Insurance Provider

Do not engage in roadside negotiations with the other driver. This could expose you to serious risks – such as the driver giving you false information and taking off. Instead, go about your car accident claim the correct way by calling the insurance company of the at-fault party.

You should call the insurance provider as soon as possible after your accident. Answer any questions honestly, and wait for the insurance claims adjuster to either deny or accept your claim. Contact a Kansas City personal injury attorney if you run into any problems settling your minor accident claim.