Every day, hundreds of vehicle accidents occur in the United States where the damage to either the vehicle or the driver is insignificant. To avoid the lengthy process of making a claim to the insurance policy, both drivers tend to settle matters between them and decide not to report the accident.
For example, you got involved in a fender bender where the other driver was at fault, which caused little damage to both of your cars, but no one was injured. The at-fault driver makes you a deal that they will pay you for the damages if you do not report the incident to the local law enforcement department and not make a claim. You think it is a good way to avoid hassle and exchange contact information to provide the other driver an estimate of the repair costs.
But is it the right thing to do? If you see the situation from a contractual viewpoint, the answer is no. Almost all car insurance policies have a clause that makes it mandatory for you to report all types of accidents to the insurance company regardless of the extent of damage and injury.
Minor Damage can Take Form of Serious Injuries
Whether you have been involved in a fender bender or your car sustained a cosmetic damage, it is highly likely that you had to spot your vehicle abruptly to avoid more damage. In such a situation, your body may have suffered a jerking effect, either backward and forward or side to side. This can result in back injuries, neck injuries, head trauma, lacerations, cuts, whiplash, and other injuries, no matter whether the vehicle sustained any major damage.
Some injuries do not manifest right away, and may take some hours, days or may be weeks to surface. So, if you did not suffer from any injury and your vehicle was just scratched, there is a chance that you start experiencing symptoms of serious injuries. It is essential to report every incident and see a doctor right away to get full assessment of your health. This will allow you to know whether you sustained any internal injuries, like a head trauma or concussion.
If you do not get medical treatment immediately and report the incident, you will not be able to make a claim on the insurance policy of the at-fault driver to get compensation for your injuries. This is because you will have no evidence to support your claim that your injuries were related to the accident.
When Reporting Damage is required by Law
There are times when you are legally responsible to report a crash no matter the degree of property damage and injuries. You must report the incident, if it involves:
- Death or injury
- A government vehicle
- A criminal act
- Unlicensed or uninsured drivers
- Bicyclists or pedestrians
- A vehicle transporting illegal or dangerous goods
- Damage to highway, municipal, or private property
If you have been involved in an accident regardless of the degree of damage, you should report it to the authorities. Talk to an experienced and reliable auto accident attorney to discuss your case. Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 or online today to schedule your initial consultation.