A fender bender is a minor car accident, without personal injury or significant damages. Although it might be considered harmless, a fender bender is an auto incident, and our Miami-based law firm can help you gather the necessary evidence to build a case.
Before going into the most critical steps to take after a car incident, let's look at what type of driving behavior and habits might keep you out of tense situations on the road.
Defensive driving is a specific driving style in which the driver applies risk-minimizing strategies and tactics to keep themselves and others safe in traffic.
What Are the Top 5 Situations Where You Risk Getting Involved in A Fender Bender?
- Not paying attention to all traffic signs. A big part of defensive driving, the best attitude that helps you avoid fender benders is staying within the speed limit on each section of your journey. Becoming overly familiar with a route carries the risk of ignoring the posted traffic signs, some of which may change.
- Driving in heavy traffic and parking lots. Even if the driving speed is likely low, people lose their attention or patience while waiting. Statistics show that most fender benders occur in parking lots and intersections.
- Failing to keep your calm. People are usually baffled by surprising unpleasant situations, especially when negative feelings break out because of an aggressive driver, an inattentive pedestrian, or a slow driver. Keep your cool and act guardedly.
- Not keeping a safe distance from the car ahead of you. Driving too close to the vehicle in front of you is often the case behind fender benders. Taking a peek at your flashing mobile screen, looking in the rear window at the wrong moment, or just getting distracted by thoughts, it takes a split second to bump into the car in front of you if you don't keep a safe distance.
- Driving in unfavorable weather conditions. It would help if you always were extra careful when driving in a heavy downpour, a thick fog, strong wind gusts, or on icy roads. Even if you are sufficiently experienced and know the route well, this might only be the case for some drivers around you. Slow down and drive, paying attention to the movement of the cars in traffic.
The 10 Most Important Steps of What to Do After a Fender Bender
Even if you adopt a defensive driving style and do your best to cruise safely in traffic, your journeys on the road consist of many variables. A bad day, a weather front or any minor distraction might be enough to find yourself in a fender bender. People rarely remain collected after involvement in a car accident. If you are not careful, you might face difficulty when you decide to take action by seeking compensation for damages or injuries.
What to do right after a minor collision happens?
- Remain at the accident scene until all necessary information is exchanged, and you take note of every detail of the incident. Facts that seem irrelevant in the spur of the moment may prove to be crucial later on.
- Avoid further accidents by protecting the scene. Set up flares, leave your hazard lights on, and if you have to wait for the police, do it in a safe place, as close to the scene as possible.
- Call the police if necessary. If the law requires reporting the fender bender, as it does in many states, a police officer will have to come to the place of the accident. It is in your best interest for them to be there as their reports offer sound evidence.
- Contact your insurance company whether you intend to file a claim or not. Most car insurance companies will cover minor car accidents in certain conditions. Therefore, contact your insurance company as soon as you can. Read the terms and conditions of your contract carefully and check the required details to provide the insurance company with all the necessary information for proper coverage.
- Take photographs and even draw your own simplified sketch of the circumstances of the accidents. Pictures speak volumes, so document the incident with pictures of scratches, collision marks, the distance between the cars, distance from the center line, the road wind, the intersection, the traffic light, or any other detail that might be relevant in the evaluation of the circumstances that lead to the fender bender.
- Pay attention before signing any agreements. In some cases, drivers try to make their own settlements after a fender bender; however, this is only partially recommended or even legal in some states. In the heat of the moment, you may not see things in their accurate importance. Therefore, take your time to think it through or even contact a professional lawyer for counseling.
- File a claim on time. In Florida, the law (Statute of Limitation) will allow filing a claim within four years since the accident occurred. After that, you lose the right to sue.
- Do not postpone the damage repairs. The law may not include an obligation to make repairs, especially when the vehicle's mechanical condition is fine. However, what may seem just minor scratches or simply unaesthetic aspects should be taken care of to prevent rust or other future complications.
- Seek medical assistance. Pay a visit to your doctor as soon as you can, even after a minor collision. Injuries from small collisions are not always immediately visible. Even if you feel injury-free during the first minutes of a fender bender, you can sustain injuries such as damage to the spinal cord, brain concussion, or even a ruptured eardrum.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer. If you suspect the slightest degree of the other party involved, contact a lawyer experienced in car accidents. Proving negligent driving can be tricky, and you will need legal assistance to understand your rights and act upon them fully.
What Not to Do If You Are Involved in A Fender Bender?
After cars collide, be that a minor or a major accident, apart from the dos, there are essential don'ts too. If you are in a car accident, try to remain cool-headed and think ahead to not ruin your future chances in an eventual personal injury claim. Don'ts after a collision include:
- Don't leave the scene even if it seems like the accident is a minor one with no material damage or personal injury.
- Don't incriminate yourself early by admitting fault. Only state facts and leave an evaluation and fault determination to the authorities in charge.
- Don't argue with the other driver, bystanders, or other parties at the scene. Each person may have a different perception of what just happened. Leave that be and remain level-headed.
- Don't talk to the other driver's insurance company. The only insurance company you need to give information and detail about the accident is your own.
Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Miami Lawyer Sean M. Cleary
Proving negligence can be a tough legal process, but it is essential if you intend to seek financial compensation for injuries and damages caused to you by another party. Contacting a personal injury lawyer if you've been injured after a car accident can dramatically improve the possibility of seeing justice served. A car accident attorney will be able to:
- Review your case ad determine what parties might be liable
- Help you understand your legal rights
- Gather evidence and documentation to prove the case
- Go the extra mile to seek the highest level of compensation
With an experienced Miami car accident attorney on your side, experts will be brought in and provide their testimony to support your injury claims and assist in establishing grounds for your case.