Minor car accidents which do not involve any injuries are an everyday occurrence. These generally involve dents, minor scratches, and paint scrapping. These ‘fender benders’ may happen while backing out of your driveway or parking spot, bumping into the rear end of the front car while trying to stop at an intersection after noticing the red signal, or scraping the car parked next to yours when opening your door.. All major accidents are required to be reported to the police and the insurance company as soon as possible, however, a different consideration is required for reporting of minor accidents.
Reporting to the Law Enforcement Agencies
Accidents not involving any injury and only ‘vehicle damage’ are not required to be reported to the law enforcement in many states. In other states, vehicle damage over certain amount ($1000 or $2000) is required to be reported. The most essential activity after a minor accident is taking contact details and insurance details of the other driver and sharing yours. If the other driver is uncooperative, law enforcement personnel can be of real help. They can record the statement of both drivers and witnesses including the details of circumstances leading to the accident, the extent of damage, injuries, if any, visible evidence like skid marks, and any additional details.
Many injuries start showing symptoms few days or weeks after the accident. In such cases, you may have indicated that you were not injured; the other driver may take advantage of this and claim that the accident did not take place. Contacting law enforcement will ensure that the event gets recorded and you always have a witness to testify on your behalf.
During inclement weather, the accidents with no injuries are generally not attended by 911 or the local law enforcement agency as the priority goes to the accidents where someone is injured. In such cases you may be able to get the accident report forms at the nearest gas station or convenience stores which can be filled and later mailed to the law enforcement agency.
Reporting to Your Insurance Company
All automobile insurance policies have a clause wherein you have to report any accident (major or minor) that you are involved in; failing to do so may involve penalties and may cause complications. Many drivers do not report minor accidents as they assume that their insurance rates may increase, and that they can work out things with the other driver without involving the insurance companies.
The only time you may avoid reporting to your insurance company is when in a minor accident no other vehicle is involved. This may include minor damages while reversing out of your garage or parking lot. Since there is no dispute about who will pay for damages, you may decide not to speak with your insurance company about your incident.
If you have any questions concerning your case, you should consult with an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer. Call (314) 361-4242 to schedule a free and private consultation.
photo credit: ChuckShultz