Nothing is more frustrating that getting into a fender bender or a minor accident. You have things to do! As you’re waiting on the side of the road, you may wonder if reporting minor car accidents is even worth it.
The answer, simply, is YES. Alabama law requires that you report any crash that involves a personal injury, death, or at least $250 in property damage. This covers nearly every single car accident in our state. However, there are many other reasons why reporting that fender bender is worth your time – keep reading to learn more.
Reason #1: You’re Probably Underestimating Your Injuries
After a crash, your body is pumping with adrenaline, the “fight or flight” chemical that helps us operate under stressful conditions. However, it can dull your injuries. That’s why a lot of people think they’re “okay” at the crash scene, only to discover they have serious injuries in the days following their accident.
Additionally, some injuries take time to develop. You may not realize that you have a concussion, TBI (traumatic brain injury), herniated disc, or other serious condition immediately after a crash.
However, if you don’t report the accident, you may have a hard time getting compensation for your injuries later on. To protect your legal rights, you should always call 911 and get an accident report.
Reason #2: Police Reports Are Valuable Evidence During an Injury Claim
If you don’t have a police report, your injury claim may turn into a “he said, she said” battle – especially if there aren’t other witnesses. When the police arrive at the scene, they document the circumstances surrounding the crash, identify at-fault parties, and issue citations, and collect other important information.
When you meet with an injury attorney, one of the first things they will want to do is review your police report. We consider them a good introduction to your claims and the issues that might arise. Plus, they can be powerful evidence if the at-fault driver suddenly changes their story.
These reports are especially important if someone was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In these cases, you’ll want blood-alcohol data information from the police – and time is of the essence.
Reason #3: A Traffic Citation Can Streamline Your Injury Claim
Like most states, Alabama has a “negligence per se” rule. Under this law, it’s easier to prove your injury claim if the other driver violated the law and caused your injuries. Sometimes, this may involve something as serious as drunk driving. Other times, it may be failure to yield the right of way or speeding.
When the police arrive at the scene, they may decide to give the other driver a ticket. This can help strengthen your legal claims later on.
Steps You Should Take After a “Minor” Car Crash
At Petro Law Firm, we know that there’s no such thing as a “minor car crash.” Any collision, even one where there is little to no property damage, can lead to serious or life-threatening injuries. For this reason, you should treat every car accident like it’s a serious matter.
We recommend that you follow these steps, no matter what.
- Call 911: Follow Alabama’s reporting laws and ask for a police report – and medical services if anyone is injured.
- Cooperate with the police investigation: Crash scenes can be chaotic and emotional. Do your best to remain calm, professional, and polite.
- Do not admit fault: Alabama applies a strict contributory negligence standard in accident claims. Do not apologize for the crash or admit you made even a minor mistake, since it could seriously impact your legal claims. Instead, stick to the facts.
- Take pictures: You may be surprised how important pictures of a crash scene can be. They can help lawyers, judges, and experts understand exactly what happened and the extent of your injuries.
- Collect witnesses’ information: If someone stops at the crash scene, get their name and contact information. They may serve as valuable witnesses during your claim.
- See a doctor: If you have any aches and pains, no matter how minor, go to the hospital, a clinic, or see your doctor.
- Consult with a lawyer: A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate your insurance claims and make sure you get fair compensation for your injuries.
- File an insurance claim: Your lawyer will typically do this for you. However, notifying the insurance company of your injuries is an essential step towards getting the recovery you deserve.
Get Help Reporting Minor Car Accidents
If you were recently in a car crash, the team at Petro Law Firm can help you understand your legal rights and guide you through the complicated process of reporting a car accident. We offer free consultations and will fight for you.