If you drive regularly, you have probably encountered a fender bender in one way or another. Fender benders are minor car accidents that rarely result in injuries or property damage. Common fender benders include being rear-ended at low speeds and getting bumped while parking. Despite being minor, fender benders can be a real pain if not handles appropriately.
Have you been involved in a fender bender? Do you have questions about your next steps? The top Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers can help you.
California Car Accident Laws
Under California car accident laws, drivers involved in an auto accident must stop, regardless of how minor the accident was. This includes fender benders that don’t result in injury or property damage. You must also stop when you hit a pedestrian, property, or stationary object. Failing to do so could lead to a hit-and-run charge, which carries heavy penalties.
After stopping, you must notify the local police or California Highway Patrol if your accident caused injury or death. The same applies to when the crash results in property damage.
Technically, you don’t have to report a fender bender that doesn’t result in injury. However, it is advisable to do so to protect your rights should something come up.
Should You Call the Police?
As mentioned, you don’t have to report a fender bender that doesn’t result in injury or death. You can check with the other driver that no damage was made and drive away. You will likely never hear from the other driver again.
However, if you or the other party suffers an injury, the accident could end in a lawsuit. Calling the police allows you to protect your rights, as they will create a fair and balance accident report. This report could come in handy later in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
It is also advisable to call the police when the property damage in an accident appears to exceed $1,000. The police report will provide clear evidence of how the accident happened and who was at fault.
Steps to Take After a Fender Bender
Before calling the police, you should always move your vehicle out of the road. Find a safe place to park and move away from your car if it shows signs of smoking or leaking fuel. Once you are safe, you should do the following:
- Call 911 — Assess yourself for injuries. If you are badly injured, call for emergency medical assistance. You can also drive to the nearest hospital if your injuries are mild.
- Exchange Information — Collect the other driver’s name, contact information, license plate number, and insurance details.
- Collect Evidence — Take pictures of the accident scene, property damage, and injuries.
- Inform Your Insurer — Call your insurer and report the accident.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Under certain circumstances, you are required to report car accidents to the police. This includes fender benders, especially if they result in property damage or bodily harm. Expert Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers with El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers can advise you on how to handle your fender bender and protect your rights.
We understand that although minor, fender benders can have devastating effects if mishandled. Contact us today at 213-985-1120 to discuss your accident with a professional.