Did you get into a car accident but no damage occurred to your vehicle? What should you do next? Unfortunately, auto accidents are a common occurrence – there are over 6 million car crashes in the U.S.A. every year. And when they occur, it can still be very confusing and traumatizing. Therefore, knowing what to do in such a case is very important.
The bad news is that there might be other serious concerns, even if you get into a minor car accident but no damage occurs. For example, you, or another person involved in a crash, could be injured. In addition, your vehicle might also sustain invisible damage which might crop up later. Therefore, you should treat even minor auto accidents with the utmost seriousness.
10 Things to Do After a Car Accident With No Damage
If you’re in a car accident but no damage occurs, you might be tempted to ignore the situation and drive off. However, several issues can appear later, which could cause you to suffer severe losses, or, worse, land you in trouble. Therefore, you need to know what to do in that situation, which is what the tips below offer you.
Asses if Anyone Is Hurt
It’s possible to get into a car accident but no damage occurs to your vehicle. However, the same can’t be said about injuries. Therefore, you should never leave the scene of an accident, even if it is a minor one. Instead, you should evaluate the scene to see if anyone is hurt.
Start with yourself and check if you’ve any visible injuries. For example, are there any cuts, scrapes, bleeding, or something that feels broken? And did your body hit any part of the car during the impact? If you spot any injuries or even feel something amiss physically, you need to call for emergency medical services.
If you’ve no injuries and are feeling fine, your next step should be to assess if anyone else was hurt. For example, are the other passengers in your vehicle injured? And is the other driver (and their passengers) okay? Or, is there a pedestrian or cyclist who was hit by any of the vehicles? Ensure that all the parties involved in the crash are okay, and if not, call for medical attention immediately.
Determine Who’s at Fault
Determining fault in a car accident can be a tricky affair. However, it is crucial, especially if lawyers, say an auto injury attorney, become involved in the dispute.
There are several ways to determine who is at fault in the accident. The first is the vehicle’s location and other physical evidence, such as skid marks. Features such as road signs and traffic lights are also essential in determining fault. Therefore, after ascertaining that everyone is okay, you should start documenting the scene by taking photos and videos of the crash.
Another way to determine fault is by speaking to witnesses. Therefore, you need to look for bystanders who saw the accident and get their statements. It’s also essential to get their contact information for future purposes.
You and the driver (or other third parties involved) can also decide who is at fault for the accident. However, this is a tricky direction that you’d best avoid following. If the other driver admits they’re at fault, that’s okay. However, you never admit to being at fault for the accident or even apologize for it. Instead, you should first talk to an automobile accident lawyer if you suspect you’re liable for the crash.
File a Police Report
Should you drive off if you’re in a car accident but no damage has occurred? The answer is no! In most jurisdictions, you must file a police report for an auto accident where injuries occurred. However, even with no injuries, reporting the crash to the police is still essential.
First, a police report provides official documentation of the accident. Therefore, that’s evidence you can rely on when filing an insurance claim. In fact, with a no-damage accident, you’ll experience difficulty receiving compensation, making the report vital.
The other benefit of filing a police report is that it provides official, unbiased documentation of the accident. Therefore, it could go in your favor when filing damage or personal injury claims if you’re not the one at fault for the crash. Additionally, the report will have all the involved parties’ personal and contact details. Therefore, it might come in handy should the other driver disappear from you.
Unfortunately, police officers rarely respond to no-damage auto accidents, especially if there are no injuries. Still, it is a good idea to call and report the accident and, if need be, file a report online or in person at a police station. In such a case, you’ll need to furnish the officers with all the details about the accident, and any evidence you’ve got – photos, videos, witness statements, contact, etc.
Acquire Representation If You Need It
It is advisable to hire an attorney if you’re in a car accident but no damage has occurred. For example, an accident injury lawyer will come in handy if you have sustained any injuries during the accident.
After speaking to a lawyer, you can find out how to file a personal injury claim and get the deserved compensation. Likewise, unseen car damage crops up later – therefore, having an attorney in your corner will be an added advantage.
Of course, you must speak to a lawyer if you’re at fault for the accident. Even if other third parties were not injured, you could still be sued for the crash. Fortunately, car accident attorneys are experienced at defending against such lawsuits and can help diminish your liability.
Another situation that might require hiring a lawyer is when it needs to be clarified who is at fault. In such a situation, it’s usually the investigating police officers or car insurance companies who will determine fault. And while they are unbiased third parties, they can still get it wrong and assign you the blame. Therefore, having an expert fighting for you in your corner is a good idea.
Visit a Doctor for a Checkup
Like with any other crash, you should also seek medical attention if you’re in a car accident but no damage occurred. Even if you seem to be okay physically, it is still possible to miss some signs of injury.
Furthermore, some signs and symptoms can appear later – a few hours or even days after the crash. These include headaches, swelling, bruising, numbness, joint stiffness, hairline fractures, vision or hearing issues, etc. Therefore, you need a medical professional to evaluate you as soon as possible, as untreated accident injuries can worsen.
The other benefit of seeking medical attention is that it can help substantiate your injury claim. When there is no damage to your vehicle, you can have difficulty proving that you sustained injuries or that the crash caused them. However, a doctor’s report – plus their testimony – will provide the proof needed to file your claim.
Call Your Car Insurance Company
It might be tempting not to file a claim when you’re in a car accident with no damage to your vehicle. Worse yet, the other driver – if they are at fault – might persuade you to accept a cash deal with no insurance providers involved. Additionally, you might not want to contact your insurance company if you’re at fault. However, despite all these reasons, it’s always a good idea to call your insurance company.
Even with no visible injuries, your car might still develop issues later from the crash. Therefore, you will have a hard time an insurance claim due to these issues if you fail to report the accident.
It would be best if you still informed your car insurance provider even when you’re at fault during an accident. This is especially true if the other driver files a claim against you. Additionally, some states have no-fault insurance policies, meaning you can still file a claim for injuries or injuries sustained.
Bring Your Car to the Shop Anyway
You should still take your car to an auto shop even after getting into a car accident but no damage occurred to your vehicle. However, even if you don’t see any damage, your car could still have sustained issues, which might crop up later.
For example, even a minor car crash can cause damage such as scratches and paint marks from the other car. There could also be hidden body panel damage that is not visible. Other common hidden issues after a car crash include misalignment, leaks (oil, radiator, brake fluid, etc.), and battery damage.
The above issues will require auto repairs, and not fixing them early enough can lead to additional costly damage. Furthermore, if you continue using your car after an accident, you will have difficulty proving the damage sustained in the crash.
Lastly, having your car assessed by a mechanic after an accident could reveal other unrelated problems that need fixing. For example, you can discover an issue with your brakes, thus requiring auto brake repair services. Therefore, a trip to the auto shop can save you future costly repairs or, worse, getting into another accident.
Renew Your Registration
After getting into an auto accident, checking that your registration is up to date is also essential. If it is not or nearing expiration, you should immediately renew it. Doing this could save you a lot of trouble in the future.
But what if your registration was expired and you got into an accident? Will you be liable for the accident? And can you still file a claim for any damages or injuries sustained? Getting into an accident with an expired registration can be awkward – you will likely be cited by the police and possibly receive a considerable fine.
However, auto registrations have no bearing when determining who is at fault – unless you’re the one who caused the accident. The police will not assign you to blame simply because you have an expired registration. Likewise, your insurance policy will still be active – even with lapsed registration – and thus, you can still file a claim for damages or injuries sustained.
Check If Your Insurance Rate Went Up
Reviewing your insurance policy is essential, even if you’re in a car accident but no damage occurred to your vehicle. Following the crash, you can find that your insurance rates went up for several reasons. To start with, most insurance companies will increase premiums after you cause an accident. This is especially the case if you, or other parties involved, file a claim.
Sadly, even when you are not at fault, getting into a car crash can still affect your auto insurance plan. This is because auto insurance companies operate based on risk. Therefore, the more accidents you have, the higher your risk and, consequently, your insurance rates.
Fortunately, in some states, there is a limit for raising insurance rates unless the claimed damages exceed a set threshold amount. Likewise, some insurance providers offer accident forgiveness for at-fault accidents, which helps to prevent your rates from going up. Still, reviewing your policy to see if the rates went up is a good idea. Then, you can start finding ways to lower your car insurance rates, for example, by shopping for a more affordable plan.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
It would be best if you considered filing a claim after getting into a crash. Even if you’re in a car accident but no damage occurred, you could still be eligible for several types of compensation. As already mentioned, even without visible damage, your car could still experience issues that need repairs. You might also incur costs while having your vehicle inspected, something you can seek compensation for.
You can also file a claim for any medical expenses you incur due to the accident. These include costs of hospital visits, hospitalization, treatment, and medication. Additionally, you can file a claim for any future that arises from the crash.
You can also seek compensation for any pain and suffering experienced during the accident. Even if there are no physical injuries, an auto accident can still be traumatizing, causing mental agony, emotional turmoil, and even PTSD. Therefore, you can file a claim for these forms of emotional and mental pain and suffering. Lastly, you can file a claim for lost wages if you had to miss work due to the accident.
Some of the above claims can be hard to substantiate, especially when your vehicle has not suffered any visible damage. However, with the help of a motor vehicle accident attorney, you can file your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
If you’re in a car accident but no damage occurred, the first thought might be to drive off and forget about the crash. However, there are so many things to consider after such an accident. For example, you could face legal troubles if you’re at fault. On the other hand, if you’re not at fault, you could cause injuries or hidden damages to your vehicle, missing out on a chance to file a claim. Fortunately, with the tips above, you can know what to do after getting into an accident, thereby minimizing the losses you might incur.