Every year, road accidents in the U.S. cause injuries and disabilities to 2.35 million individuals. Worse, more than 37,000 people die due to these crashes.
Now, consider the fact that Washington housed over 5.63 million licensed drivers in 2016. With this kind of number, it’s easy to see why the year before, a whopping 117,053 collisions occurred! In fact, there was a crash for every 5 minutes in 2015.
Granted, some of these are what you’d call a minor accident. Many resulted from distracted driving (think texting while driving). But an accident is an accident, and even a small one can already give you a traumatic experience.
But does a minor car accident warrant reporting to the police? Should you even call a lawyer?
All these questions and more we’ll answer in this guide on what to do after a minor car accident. So, make sure you keep reading!
When Reporting a Collision is a Legal Must
The Washington State Patrol requires drivers to report collisions that caused damages of over $1,000. If the police didn’t investigate the crash, you need to file a report no more than four days after the accident.
Of course, you should call the proper authorities if the collision caused serious visible damages. That’s 9-1-1 for major injuries.
What About Fender Benders?
What if the crash you were in was only a bumper accident? In this case, you should still get the insurance information of the other party.
That includes the complete name, addresses, and contact information of everyone involved. Don’t forget passengers and witnesses too. Note the license numbers, plate numbers, and insurance providers of the other parties.
This is especially true if you’re dealing with uninsured or underinsured motorists. Keep in mind that in 2015, there were still 17.4% uninsured drivers in the state.
When and Why Involve a Lawyer Then?
A lot of people make the mistake of not taking a minor car accident with no car damage seriously. There may be no visible property damage, but an unseen injury may have already occurred.
That’s right. You may actually have sustained whiplash. It’s a type of neck injury that can have delayed symptoms, from pain to swelling to even insomnia!
Because the symptoms of whiplash can go unnoticed for a few hours, even days after the accident, you may not have reported an injury right after the crash. That’s why in this case, it’s best you contact a personal injury attorney.
Never Underestimate a Minor Accident
Even if your bumper saved you from serious injuries, its replacement can still cost you $400 to $1,500. Even chips and scratches can already set you back anywhere between $50 and $1,500. Then, there’s the possibility of pain and suffering from hidden injuries, like whiplash.
All this said, you should never think lightly of a minor accident. Besides, even without injuries or damages, it’s already an unpleasant, even traumatizing event.
If you were in a road crash, regardless of how minor you think it is, consider talking about it with us. We can help you figure out the next best course of action.