Car accidents happen all the time. It is likely that sometime during your driving career you will find yourself in a fender bender. When there is not much damage to either car and no one is injured, it can be unclear what to do next. Here is how you should respond if find yourself in a fender bender.
1) Be Safe
If you are on a busy highway, intersection or road and no one is injured, move your vehicles to a safer location. A nearby parking lot or wider shoulder are good ideas.
2) Don’t Admit Fault
Don’t apologize or admit fault. Wait until the police arrive to go over any details of the accident and see if you can locate any willing and neutral witnesses. Don’t lie about what happened, but don’t accept blame before a police report is filed.
3) Get Information
Even if you decide not to report the accident to the police, you should still exchange information. If you think damage is more than $1,000 the state of Rhode Island requires that you report the accident to the police. Be sure to get the police report number as well as the officer’s name and badge number.
Write down the other driver’s information whether or not you both agree to report the accident to the police or to your insurance company. You need their full name, insurance company name, policy number and insurance phone number. You should give the same to the other driver. If you don’t feel comfortable giving out your home number, you can just give your insurance company’s phone number.
4) Agreements in Writing
When you make an agreement not to report the accident or exchange money get a receipt in writing and a written and signed agreement. These documents are not legally binding, but they will be helpful on the off chance that the other person involved reports and it becomes your word against theirs when working with the insurance companies or legal system.
5) Don’t Panic
It is important not to panic when you are in a fender bender. Stay calm so you can make important decisions or at the very least refrain from making decisions. If you feel unsure about what to do, it is ok to call the police and get a police report and make decisions later. Don’t let the other person involved refuse to give you information or guilt you into making a decision you don’t want to make.
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