Car accidents happen every day, and while some have devastating effects on those involved, others are not quite as severe. For example, minor car accidents or fender benders typically occur at low speeds, in parking lots, in slow-moving traffic, or within intersections. When these accidents happen, they might not result in injuries, but the parties involved must still determine liability and know what to do when it comes to reporting the incident.
In this state, drivers must call the police to report accidents resulting in injury, death, or property damage. Even if the apparent property damage is slight, it is still necessary to report the incident to the police. If a driver fails to report an accident, they can face criminal penalties. After a minor accident, report the situation to the local police and wait at the scene for them to arrive.
Assess Your Damages
As you wait for the police to arrive, you and the other driver should move your vehicles out of the way of nearby traffic. However, before you do this you should take photos of the positions of the vehicles. This will help you prove how the accident happened and determine liability for the incident. Whichever driver caused the accident is responsible for the other driver’s damages.
You should take photos of the damage to your vehicle and any injuries you suffered, however slight they may seem. Your recovery from the accident will likely start with an insurance claim against the at-fault driver, and you will need to provide supporting evidence to substantiate your claim. Photos from the accident and the police report will both be helpful to your claim for compensation.
Filing Your Insurance Claim
When the police arrive at the scene of the accident they will interview the drivers involved and create a formal incident report. You will need a copy of this report later. Once the police complete their preliminary investigation, they will allow you and the other driver to leave. Exchange your contact and insurance information with the other driver and see a doctor, even if you think you only suffered minor bumps and bruises. You may have sustained injuries that have not yet shown noticeable symptoms.
It’s ideal to consult legal counsel before filing your insurance claim. Once an insurance company representative sees that you have an attorney representing you, they will be more likely to process your claim swiftly and without engaging in any bad faith handling of your claim. Your attorney will verify that their settlement offer is suitable for the scope of the damages and address any issues that might arise. For example, if your accident was minor and only resulted in cosmetic damage to your vehicle, your claim should proceed through the approval process relatively quickly with minimal chance of problems arising.
Building a Personal Injury Claim
In the event your damages eclipse the insurance coverage the at-fault driver has, you will need to start a personal injury suit to recover your outstanding losses. This is unlikely to be necessary after a very minor car accident, but you should be prepared for the possibility regardless. Consult your attorney as soon as possible after your accident so they can review the details of the incident and help you determine the full scope of compensation you can claim from the at-fault driver. The sooner you consult your attorney, the more likely you are to secure maximum compensation for your damages.
FAQs on Things to do After a Minor Car Accident in Colorado
Do You Have to Call the Police After a Minor Car Accident?
State law requires drivers to call the police to report accidents resulting in property damage, injury, or death. There are severe penalties for failing to report an accident when required by law. If you only experienced a minor fender-bender that did not cause any injury, you still need to report the accident if it resulted in property damage. As a general rule, you should always report accidents to not only avoid the penalties associated with failure to report, but also to ensure a formal police report is on file for the incident.
When Should I Call a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident?
Recovery from a minor car accident may only require an insurance claim against the at-fault driver, but it is a good idea to have legal counsel to handle your auto insurance claim. Dealing with insurance company representatives can be frustrating and stressful, but once an insurance carrier notices that you have legal counsel, it will be more likely to process your claim swiftly and in good faith.
How Long Will It Take to Receive an Insurance Claim Settlement?
If you have an experienced attorney help you file your insurance claim, and the other driver is clearly at fault for the accident, it may only take a few weeks to receive a check for your claim. If your accident was minor and your vehicle only requires minimal repairs, it will also shorten the time it takes for you to receive your settlement. The issues that often complicate auto insurance claims and extend the time it takes drivers to receive their settlements include disputed liability and extensive damages.
Is Colorado a Fault State?
When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, this is a fault state. This means that whichever driver caused an accident absorbs liability for the damages. Therefore, whether you anticipate recovering from your accident through insurance alone or if you expect to start a personal injury claim as well, you must prove liability for the incident to recover any compensation for your damages.
The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal can provide the legal guidance and support you need after any car accident, no matter how minor or severe you believe it to be. We have many years of experience confronting the largest insurance carriers in the state on behalf of our clients and we can help build a personal injury claim if necessary to ensure your recovery. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about the ways we can help recover from your recent accident.