Does a Fender Bender Count as an Accident?
It’s always a good idea to report an accident to the police and to your insurance company. Failing to do so can cause trouble down the road. In some cases, it can even lead to criminal charges being filed against you.
Why failing to report an auto accident can come back to haunt you
Imagine this: you’re driving around on a typical day when, all of a sudden, you find yourself in an auto accident.
You and the other party get out of your vehicles, give the damage a quick glance, and agree to settle the matter between you. Perhaps cash is exchanged, perhaps not. In the end, you shake hands as each of you goes about your business.
Does this means your troubles are over? Not necessarily. Here’s why:
- Sometimes the consequences of an accident only become clear later on: You may drive away from the scene thinking that no harm was done, only to find out later that your car is making strange noises or that you’re experiencing physical discomfort.
- Settling the issue on the spot can rob you of the opportunity to seek compensation later: The other party can always argue that the matter is already resolved and that you’re simply looking to cash in.
- A police report can protect you from false accusations: Just as you should never accuse another party falsely, you should also take reasonable steps to prevent the same circumstance from happening to you. Nothing sets the record straight faster than the testimony of law enforcement professionals.
- You might have a legal obligation to report the accident: Many states require those involved in a car collision to notify authorities of the incident. Failing to do so may land you in hot water with the police.
- Sometimes on-the-spot settlements are motivated by worry or fear: For instance, one of the parties may become angry or upset and try to intimidate the other party. Other times, drivers hesitate to report accidents because they’re worried about the impact on their premiums. But many insurance firms have accident forgiveness policies in place to prevent this from happening.
- A seemingly minor accident can be a warning sign of things to come: For example, the collision may have been caused by a defect in your vehicle’s safety systems. Brushing the incident aside could cause you to neglect potential threats to your safety and well-being later on.
- Reporting the accident helps to make the world a safer place for all of us: Police and highway departments use the data gleaned from accident reports to identify safety hazards and enhance public policy. They rely on you to help them with these important responsibilities.
For all these reasons and more, we urge you to report every accident in which you’re involved, no matter how trivial it may seem at the time.
What to do if you need legal help
Often, the circumstances surrounding an auto accident call for the services of a skilled law firm. This is especially the case if you or another occupant of your vehicle suffered an injury or the car itself sustained damage. Here’s why:
- You can’t count on insurance companies to offer you a fair deal: Insurers serve a valuable role in our society. But always remember that they’re in business to make a profit. Sometimes, this can lead to accident victims being shortchanged.
- Building a case for maximum compensation takes a team of legal and investigative experts: Judges and juries base their decisions on facts and evidence. But uncovering the truth may require professional expertise, especially when the other side is trying to sweep it under the rug.
- Having someone to protect your interests will help you to focus on your recovery: Sometimes even minor auto accidents can cause major health problems for their victims. Having a capable Los Angeles car accident lawyer on your side will not only give you peace of mind, but it will also help you to concentrate on feeling better.
The car accident attorneys here at Ellis Injury Law have recovered more than $350 million for their clients over the years. We dedicate ourselves to helping our clients receive what they deserve. Get in touch with us today to schedule your free consultation. Someone from our staff is waiting to talk to you.