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What to Do After a Minor Car Accident

Updated February 23, 2023 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

Minor car accidents are much more common than severe crashes, and they can happen anywhere. Whether a car backs out of a parking space and dents your bumper or you get into a fender bender while stopped at a red light, accidents without injuries or major property damage may seem so minor that reporting them to the police or your insurance company isn’t necessary.

However, reporting the accident is in your best interest, regardless of severity or damage.

Do You Have to Report Minor Car Accidents?

States have different laws determining when you are required to report a car accident to the police, and insurance companies have their own policies about reporting minor collisions.

Reporting a Minor Car Accident to the Police

In Indiana, you are must report any motor vehicle collisions that involve injury, death, or entrapment of another person to law enforcement. Additionally, you are required to file a police car accident report if damage to property (other than the vehicles in the collision) occurs.

According to Indiana law, you are not required to report a crash if it resulted in no injuries and caused only minor property damage to the vehicles involved. But, regardless of the circumstances or severity of your accident, filing a police report is essential if you want to get compensation for your damages or pursue legal action.

Reporting a Minor Car Accident to Your Insurance Company

Most automobile insurance companies require policyholders to immediately report all accidents. Even if you were not at fault and the damage was minor, you should notify your insurance company of the incident. Failure to report the accident to your insurance company in a timely manner may result in penalties or later complications.

Are you worried that your rates will automatically go up? Don’t be. Your insurance company will take factors such as fault and damage severity into account when determining how to handle the accident.

There is only one set of circumstances in which you may not have to inform your insurance company of an accident: when the collision happens in your vehicle and on your property and the only damage is to property you own. In that case, there are no disputes or discussions of fault, so you likely aren’t required to inform your insurance company.

What Should I Do After a Minor Car Accident?

If you are in a minor motor vehicle collision, stay calm and follow these steps.

Immediately Proceed to Safety

Move your car to the shoulder or side of the road and keep away from passing cars. When standing near the vehicles or speaking with the other driver, be sure to stay out of the way of traffic.

Check for Injuries

Minor car accidents can result in injuries, like bruising or whiplash. Call 911 and request an ambulance if anyone is badly injured.

Call the Police

Police reports can be used to help show who was responsible for the accident. It is in your best interest to file an accident report with law enforcement, even if the collision did not involve injury, death, entrapment, or significant property damage.

Exchange Contact Information

Get the following information from everyone involved in the accident:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email and phone number
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate
  • Insurance information

If possible, use the camera on your cell phone to snap a picture of the other driver’s license, plates, and insurance card.

If the other driver is uncooperative or uninsured, you should contact law enforcement to help you get the information you need.

Take Photographs

Photos and videos are useful pieces of evidence in car accident claims. Take photographs and video recordings of the accident scene and property damage from all angles.

Contact Your Insurance Company

All accidents, no matter how minor and regardless of who was at fault, should be reported to your insurance company. You can find the appropriate contact information on your insurance card.

Consult with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

Negotiations concerning minor collisions can quickly get out of hand. Damage may appear minor at first, but the full extent could be uncovered later. Injuries may show up days or weeks after the accident. In these scenarios, or if you need help deciding whether to pursue a personal injury claim, consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. We’re here to help.

Contact an Automobile Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact Wilson Kehoe Winingham to find an Indianapolis car accident lawyer. The lawyers at WKW can help you and your family fight for the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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Let WKW put our experience to work for you. Contact us for your free case evaluation.


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