It’s never fun to be involved in a car accident, even if it’s just a minor crash with no injuries to the occupants. In fact, the most common type of car accident is the non-injury accident commonly referred to as a fender bender. Thankfully, most fender benders don’t cause major damage, but these accidents can still be costly in ways of time, money, and inconvenience.
What To Do After a Non-Injury Fender Bender
After any collision, it is important to assess the situation and make sure everyone involved is safe. If you find yourself in a non-injury fender bender accident, the following are a few things that you can do to ensure everyone’s safety and make the process of filing an insurance claim as smooth as possible.
- Call the police. Even if there are no injuries and the damage seems minor, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. In Texas, the police will create a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report or Form CR-3 which is an accident report that will help you document what happened in case there’s any damage to your car or property.
- Move your vehicle. If your car is still operable, move it to the side of the road or to a safe location. This will help prevent further accidents and make it easier and safer for emergency vehicles to access the scene, if necessary. Moving your vehicle will also make it safer for you to inspect the damage and exchange information.
- Exchange information with the other driver. You’ll need their name, contact information, insurance company, and policy number. You also have the right to ask to see their driver’s license. Note: If the other driver is not cooperative, it is important to remain calm and try to gather as much information as possible, such as their license plate number for example.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. Take pictures of your car or property damage as well as the other driver’s car. Include photos of the accident scene and the surrounding areas.
- Contact your insurance company. Once the information has been gathered, drivers need to contact their insurance companies to begin the claims process regardless of who is at fault. Some insurance companies require that you contact them within a certain time frame after an accident. If you are unsure what to say to an insurance company, you can always contact a non-injury car accident lawyer for advice.
Following these steps will help to ensure that everyone stays safe and that damages are properly documented.
What Do I Do After I Filed a Claim with My Auto Insurance?
After you have notified your insurance company of a non-injury accident or filed a claim for damages, you may be wondering what will happen next. Do you need a non-injury car accident lawyer? What is the process for getting compensated?
Your insurance company will open an investigation and determine who is at fault. If the other driver is believed to have caused the accident, their insurance company will be responsible for paying for your damages.
For the most part, fender benders with no injuries may not require the hiring of a lawyer. If there is little property damage and no injuries, you can likely handle the claim on your own. However, if there is a disagreement of liability or you are not satisfied with the insurance company’s assignment of fault, you can always consult with a non-injury car accident attorney to help you understand your rights.
If you’re not comfortable dealing with the insurance company on your own, you can hire a car accident lawyer to help you. Attorneys who specialize in car accidents can go over the process of how to get the compensation you may be entitled to receive from an insurance company. An experienced car accident lawyer will know how to navigate the insurance claims process and can talk to the insurance company on your behalf.
Car Accident Compensation When There’s No Injury
If you’ve been in a non-injury car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be wondering if you’re entitled to compensation. Although most people associate monetary compensation with personal injuries, you may be surprised to learn that you can receive compensation for property damage and other reimbursements even if you don’t suffer any injuries. You may also be able to recover some of your lost wages if you had to miss work as a result of the accident.
How To Prove Fault in a Non-injury Car Accident
In order to recover car accident compensation from the other driver when there’s no injury, you will need to prove that the operator of the other vehicle was at fault. This can be done by showing that the other driver violated a traffic law, was driving recklessly or was otherwise negligent.
A police crash report can be a persuasive piece of evidence in your favor, especially if the other driver was cited for causing the accident. If the crash report does not contain statements from witnesses to the accident, you can provide them to the other driver’s insurance company as additional proof that their insured caused the accident. Any photos or GPS information from your vehicle can also be used as a way to prove fault.
How Much Compensation is Available When There’s No Injury?
If you’re able to show that the other driver was at fault, you can submit a claim with the other driver’s insurance for your car repair expenses, lost wages, property damage, rental car costs, and other losses.
Once the insurance company of the at-fault driver has accepted fault, they will generally pay for the repairs and the damages to your vehicle. This includes mechanical repairs as well collision repairs – i.e., auto body and paint. In some cases, it may cost more to repair your car than what your car is worth. If that happens, the insurance company will consider your car a total loss and write you a check for the value of your car instead of repairing it.
The amount of compensation you can receive will mostly depend on the policy limits of the other driver. Texas law requires drivers to have at least $25,000 of liability coverage for property damage. If the at-fault driver only carries the minimum liability requirement, and the cost to repair or replace your vehicle exceeds $25,000, then the at-fault driver will have to pay the difference out of pocket. If the at-fault driver refuses to pay the difference, you may have to sue them to get the full amount. However, sometimes attorneys will advise against spending the time and effort to sue someone with few, if any, non-exempt assets where you are likely to be unable to collect proceeds from them.
Using Your Own Insurance to Pay for Repair Costs
As an alternative to suing the at-fault driver for the difference in the repair costs that exceed their policy limits, you can file a claim with your insurance company if you have a collision or uninsured/underinsured policy. Keep in mind that you will have to pay your deductible if you use your own insurance.
Can I Settle My Claim on My Own?
In some cases, settling your claim with the insurance company may be easier than going to court in an attempt to get a larger settlement. Some drawbacks to filing a lawsuit on your own are that the process can be time-consuming and expensive, and there is no guarantee that you will win your case. Nevertheless, if you feel that you have been treated unfairly or the insurance company is not offering a reasonable settlement, you may want to consider taking your case to court.
Whether you decide that going forward with a lawsuit is in your best interest or you want to settle your claim with the insurance company on your own, keep track of all expenses and losses related to the accident. For example, keep an accounting of all out-of-pocket expenses for car repairs, car rentals, and transportation costs such as Uber, Lyft, and taxis. These expenses, together with any lost wages from missed work are the types of economic damages that should be reimbursed in a non-injury car accident. Having proof of these expenditures will be helpful when seeking compensation in or out of court.
Do I Need an Attorney for A Non-Injury Car Accident?
Fortunately, there are car accident lawyers in Houston who offer free consultations for fender bender accidents even if there were no injuries. No one wants to think about being in an accident, but it’s important to know your rights in case it does happen.
People who are focusing on getting their lives back to normal after dealing with the hassle of a non-injury car accident have the choice of hiring an attorney to help them or dealing with the insurance company on their own.
Your personal decision to hire a lawyer may depend on several factors, including the severity of the accident, the amount of damage the at-fault driver caused to your vehicle or your property, and the willingness of the insurance company to work with you and offer you a fair and reasonable settlement.
You are invited to discuss your case with the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law firm. Attorney Terry Bryant is a board-certified personal injury trial lawyer who has been helping accident victims recover for over 30 years. Call 713-973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 or use our contact form today for a free consultation. There is no risk or obligation.