Fender Benders: What To Do First, And What NOT To Do
I saw that my boss's van had a little problem the other day. Apparently there was an issue with his headlight. It might still work, but the glass is messed up. So it got me to thinking.
I try to be a careful driver, and I haven't been in an accident in... well, literally years, but you know just as well as I do that stuff happens. A minor fender bender might not seem like a big deal. But what do you do, and what do you NOT do? I've got the lowdown right here.
1. Make sure everyone's okay before you check the damage to your car. That includes your passengers, everyone in the other car and YOURSELF. You might not even realize you're hurt because your adrenaline's going.
2. Don't admit it was your fault. Even just saying you're sorry can open you up to liability issues if the person sues you. So just make sure they're okay, exchange information, call a tow truck if you need one, and let your insurance deal with the rest.
3. Only call the cops if you need to. It depends on what state it happens in. But in general, you only need to file a report if there's an injury... more than $1,000 in damage, or you're worried for your safety, because the other driver is flipping out.
4. Take lots of pictures, and not just of your car. You should take pictures of anything that might be useful if you end up in court. So that might mean the stop sign they blew through, skid marks on the road or the half-eaten sandwich in their car if you think they were eating when it happened. If you think they might bolt, get pictures of their license plate.
5. Get the insurance companies involved as soon as possible. If you think it was YOUR fault, call your insurance and be honest about it. They're on your side, you're the one that's paying the premiums, so there's no need to lie to them. But if it wasn't your fault, call their insurance company so they don't try to get out of it somehow.
What are some of your dos and don'ts for fender benders? When was the last time you had a little accident?