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Should You Involve the Cops Over a Fender Bender?

On average, one car accident occurs every five seconds in the United States. That brings the annual total to a staggering 6.4 million road crashes, 98% of which are due to driver error. Together, these incidents cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars.

While not all car accidents result in death, they can still lead to injuries and property damage. That’s true even for a fender bender.

That’s enough reason to call the police, even if you only get involved in a minor accident. We’ll explain why such is the case in more detail below, so read on.

You May Have Sustained Unapparent Injuries

Whiplash injuries, which affect about one million Americans yearly, can have delayed symptoms. Even worse, they can arise from crashes at speeds of under 5 to 10 miles per hour. Thus, it’s possible to sustain such a neck injury with a fender bender or a rear-ender.

Complete recovery from whiplash injuries is possible, but only in half of patients. The rest can develop chronic symptoms and disability.

Another auto accident injury with delayed symptoms is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Some are mild, healing without treatment, but others can be disabling or deadly.

That’s why even a minor crash without apparent injuries can already warrant a call to the police. Doing so creates a report of your incident, which you may have to use later when you file a claim. At the very least, you can talk to a dispatcher and ask for advice.

A Fender Bender Can Cause Hidden Damage

At first glance, a fender bender may only look like it caused a few minor scratches on your ride. But if you dig deeper, you may be in for a surprise: it could’ve thrown your car’s frame out of alignment.

That may result in steering issues, such as shaky, wobbly, or noisy steering. Your tires may also wear unevenly, and your car may vibrate or shudder during operation. No matter how slight these issues are, they can cause unnecessary stress on your vehicle.

So, what you thought would only cost a few hundred dollars to fix could reach thousands. If you don’t involve the police on time, you may be liable to pay for everything. 

That’s another reason to call the cops and file a report for a fender bender. You can then provide your insurer with a copy of the police report when filing a claim. The same goes if you decide to sue the negligent party; you can give your car accident lawyer the same document.

It May Be the Law in Your State

All states require motorists to report a crash that results in a fatality. Most also have monetary thresholds for reporting collisions that cause property damage. The average is between $500 and $1,000, but others have a lower minimum (e.g., over $50 in Tennessee). 

However, there are three where you must call the cops for all crashes: Colorado, Nevada, and Ohio. In these states, you must file a police report even if the incident doesn’t cause any injury or damage.

Never Underestimate a Fender Bender

Hopefully, you’ll never get into a fender bender, but if you do, please don’t hesitate to call the cops. Even if you can’t see apparent injuries or car damage, it doesn’t mean they’re not there. If they are, you’ll be glad you filed the police report, as you’d need this to file a claim.

Also, don’t forget to call a lawyer who can help you recover damages caused by a negligent driver.

For more helpful guides like this, check out our other informative reads!

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