At one point or another, every driver will experience a small accident, leaving them wondering if they have to call in the authorities. These types of accidents usually referred to as “fender benders” typically involve little to no damage and no perceived injuries for either driver. For these reasons, drivers are under the impression that they don’t need to report the crash to the police or insurance companies. However, even when it is a small wreck, it’s crucial to always disclose any incident involving another motorist to both the police and the insurance company.
Reporting Accidents to Law Enforcement
While it seems as though police or sheriffs should only get called in for significant collisions where there has been severe damage, it is essential to alert law enforcement about minor accidents as well. By creating a paper trail and calling in the police to produce accurate reports, you’re protecting yourself.
When there’s a tiny accident with minimal damage, it’s tempting to settle it with the other driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 10 million crashes go unreported every year. This is a bad idea on the part of both drivers. When there’s no documentation, there’s no proof that the accident occurred. If one driver changes their mind days after the crash and decides to file charges, there’s no way to show the court who caused the accident. It could end up with a he said/she said case, potentially costing both motorists a ton in legal fees.
There are also times where damage isn’t always clear moments after a crash and the repairs may cost you more than you thought. Specific injuries, like whiplash, cost a fortune to treat and the symptoms may not show up for several days. If there’s no paperwork to back up the car accident, it’s likely your insurance company will try to get out of paying for your medical treatment.
Reporting Accidents to Insurance Companies
The insurance company of each driver should also be informed when a minor accident occurs. The biggest reason that motorists don’t want to report crashes to their insurance company is that they are afraid that their insurance rates will go up. While that scenario is likely after an accident, it also depends on your driving record, the amount of damage, and whether the other driver presses charges. At the same time, if you end up with physical injuries or damage to the car, you will end up paying a lot more for those out-of-pocket expenses than you would to your insurance company.
Recovering Compensation for Accident Damages
In sum, though minor accidents may seem too insignificant to report, they can have massive penalties for both drivers if they go unreported. In the event your seemingly minor accident results in costly injuries or property damage, you have the right to pursue compensation. However, if you do not have an official report of the accident, recovering the funds you’re entitled to by law can prove difficult. Ensure that all of your accident-related damages are covered by reporting the car accident and acquiring legal services.
The Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys at Salpeter Gitkin, LLP are seasoned personal injury lawyers who have recovered millions for people just like you. We can use the police report for the accident in addition to medical and property damage bills to help you recover maximum compensation. Contact us today at 954-467-8622 for a free case evaluation and learn more about the legal options available for your case in particular.