What to Do in a Minor Car Accidentby Robert Vaux
Car accidents are inevitable, and rare is the driver who makes it through life without experiencing a few bumps and dents every so often. Obviously, minor accidents are preferable to major ones, because they rarely involve serious injuries and can be straightened out more easily. That said, a minor accident can cause major concerns if you don't follow proper procedures and may end up costing you a great deal of money in repairs. When you are involved in a minor car accident--regardless of whose fault it is--it pays to follow a few sensible tips.
The principle concern during a car accident is the safety and well-being of everyone involved. The drivers should pull their cars out of the road immediately so that they're both clear of oncoming traffic. Use flares or cones, if you have them, to alert other drivers, and turn on your hazard lights so that you can be more visible. Call 911 if anyone has been hurt and remain at the scene until the police arrive and tell you that you can go. Do not leave the scene of an accident--even a minor one--until everything has been resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
Interacting with the Other Driver
Once the initial shock wears off and it's apparent that no one's been seriously hurt, tempers may flare. The other driver may blame you for the accident and/or you may be inclined to blame him. Refrain from losing your temper. Stay polite and courteous at all times and don't do anything to provoke the other driver's anger. Don't assign blame and don't rise to any accusations. Never discuss fault with the other driver at all, regardless of where you feel the blame lies. Get the other driver's name, address, contact information and insurance details, and provide the same for him (this is why it's a good idea to carry your insurance information in your car's glove compartment).
Insurance and Repairs
With the basics taken care of, it's time to see about the damage to your car and how you can go about getting it fixed. Call your insurance agent immediately--while you're still at the scene, if you can--and ask him about repairs. Your insurance company may have specific protocols for handling minor car damage, which you'll need to follow to get your claim processed. Consider visiting a doctor as well, even if you don't detect any injuries; you may be hurt worse than it initially appears. Keep in touch with the police, if applicable, and file a report on the accident if they ask.