Minor car accidents happen frequently on roadways and in parking lots. Although it can be tempting for the parties involved to just exchange information without involving police, calling 911 may be a better idea. Even if people and property seem unhurt or undamaged at the time of the event, those circumstances can easily change.
Every state has its own laws related to when police should be informed of car accidents. In Delaware, the law says that all motor vehicle accidents that lead to at least $500 in property damage, involve the use of alcohol or drugs, or cause death or injury need to be reported immediately to the authorities. These guidelines are helpful, but they may be tough to determine at the scene of the minor crash.
Even a small dent or scratch on a car can cost more than $500 to fix. Also, some car accident injuries do not present themselves immediately and take days or weeks to show up. Many times, drivers, passengers and even pedestrians walk away from wrecks thinking they are fine. Later, they realize they have sustained injuries, such as concussion or even broken bones. Consequently, it is always best to alert police about any vehicular accident.
The police will take time to interview the parties involved in a minor collision. From their on-site investigation and questioning, the police will draw up a report. The report will outline the events that caused the crash and serve as formal documentation that the crash occurred.
In some cases, auto insurers will ask to see the police report to help determine who is likely at fault. Having the police report as official proof of the accident provides unbiased documentation.
People who experience minor traffic accidents in Delaware and do not contact the police put themselves at risk later. The other driver might seem reasonable at the scene of the accident, and then later refuse to pay for damages or submit an insurance claim. Having a police report makes it easier to deal with insurance disputes or legal actions later.
Similar to calling the police, contacting the auto insurance company after a minor accident is important. Many drivers hesitate to contact their insurance providers because they worry about an increase in premiums. However, it is always best to let the insurance carrier know about what happened.
After being in an accident, drivers should do their best to document the scene if it is safe. Documentation, such as pictures and videos, may prove valuable later, especially if one party has to sue another party for damages. If other people have witnessed the accident, parties may want to obtain their names and telephone numbers in case future testimonies are needed.
A lawyer will typically work with clients who have been in very serious crashes. Nevertheless, attorneys represent people who have been involved in minor accidents. If one is looking to file a personal injury claim after an accident, they should speak to a lawyer who specializes in car accidents.
If you were involved in a seemingly minor car accident, it is advantageous to speak to a lawyer. Our Delaware car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. understand that car accidents lead to unexpected expenses, and we will help you get compensation. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.