Picture it: you’re driving to your local grocery store. It’s a route you’ve taken dozens, if not hundreds, of times before, and it’s always the same. But this time, while stopped at a red light, your thoughts are interrupted by a loud bang as your car jolts forward: the telltale signs of a fresh fender bender.
A fender bender can bring about a moment of panic and confusion. One question that often arises in the aftermath is whether it’s necessary to involve the police. A fender bender is the mildest of car accidents and may seem minor enough to be handled without law enforcement. But it’s crucial to understand the potential benefits and implications of having an official account of the accident.
Calling the Police: What to Consider
It is important to note that every car accident is unique and the need for police involvement can vary depending on the severity of the accident. If you find yourself in a minor fender bender without any immediate injuries or significant damage, you might think twice before dialing 911. Such situations, where all parties involved are cooperative, could potentially be resolved by just exchanging contact and insurance information.
However, there are certain situations where calling the police is not just recommended, but absolutely crucial:
- Injuries: Any accident involving injuries, regardless of how minor they may seem, should be reported to the police. This is important for both health and legal reasons, ensuring that the injured party receives appropriate medical attention and that the injury is documented.
- Disputes Over Fault: If there’s disagreement regarding who caused the accident, it’s advisable to get the police involved. They can help gather evidence at the scene and make an impartial report on the incident.
- Significant Property Damage: If the accident causes noticeable damage to either vehicle or other property, it’s essential to get an official record of this.
- Uncooperative Parties: If the other driver is uncooperative, seems suspicious, or attempts to leave the scene, the police should be contacted immediately.
Benefits of Calling the Police
The involvement of law enforcement after a fender bender can offer more benefits than you might initially realize.
Firstly, a police officer brings an authoritative presence to the accident scene. This can help control the situation, particularly if it’s contentious or tense, ensuring all parties involved are acting responsibly and are calm. They can also manage traffic around the accident scene, making it safer for everyone involved and perhaps preventing additional accidents and damage.
Moreover, police officers are trained to document accident scenes in a comprehensive and systematic manner. They can accurately note the position of the vehicles, assess any external factors such as road or weather conditions, and identify signs of impact or skid marks.
Their objective record of the accident can be extremely valuable in piecing together the series of events leading to the collision. This professionally documented perspective can provide a clear picture of the accident and is often considered a reliable source of information by insurance companies and courts.
Finally, the police play an essential role in gathering witness statements. Witnesses can provide an independent account of the accident, which can be crucial in establishing the facts. Police officers are skilled at locating and interviewing these witnesses promptly, which can significantly increase the validity of their accounts.
A comprehensive police report, including witness statements, becomes an important part of your claim, whether it’s with an insurance company or in a legal proceeding. Their impartial report can help ensure a fair outcome based on the facts.
What to Do Right After a Fender Bender
Whether or not you decide to call the police, there are certain steps that everyone should take at the scene of a fender bender. These include:
- exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver
- taking photos of the scene and any damage
- gathering witness statements, if possible
Memorize these steps and try to keep them in mind for any car accident you might be in, no matter how minor. Promptly following these steps could mean the difference between getting robust financial compensation or nothing at all.
When in Doubt, Call Great West Injury Law
As we said before, every accident is unique, and careful judgment should be used to determine the best course of action. The benefits of police involvement are numerous, from their authority in managing the accident scene, their ability to document the incident professionally, to their proficiency in gathering valid witness accounts.
However, even with a police report, navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be complex and stressful no matter how big of an accident it was. If you find yourself the victim of a fender bender due to another driver’s negligence, don’t hesitate to reach out to the knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorneys at Great West Injury Law. We’ll guide you through the legal process and fight to ensure you have the best chance at getting the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation.