Millions of car accidents are reported annually in Florida, most of which are minor and major collisions between motor vehicles.
But does a fender bender account for an accident?
Yes, it does.
Fender benders are classified as accidents when there’s a force of impact. You may assume they aren’t a big deal, but such mishaps cause serious injuries and severe property damage.
Even if there’s no property damage, the scene is still regarded as an accident. In some cases, a fender bender may not damage a vehicle, but the resulting injuries can become serious for a driver or passenger at a later stage.
Before driving around in Florida, you should be aware of specific details if you ever get involved in a fender bender.
What Is a Fender Bender?
The fender refers to the protective outer panel on a car’s frame and wheels. When this part of the vehicle sustains damage in a rear-end collision or another minor collision while driving, it’s called a fender bender.
Major causes of fender benders can range from distracted driving to poor weather conditions. Improper vehicle maintenance can also contribute to or cause fender benders, though a rear-end collision is more likely to be the cause.
Based on recent data from NHTSA, there have been approximately 1,457,155 rear-end crashes in the U.S. As per these statistics, a total of 417,062 people sustained injuries, 2428 died on the spot, and 1,037,665 suffered property damage.
Injuries in a Fender Bender
Most fender bender accidents don’t cause visible injuries, but there are cases where an injury may be delayed or hidden. Common examples include herniations, torn tissue, and internal bleeding that may go undetected.
An example of these instances include vehicles that get rear-ended by another. A common fatality is an acceleration-deacceleration injury. Such an incident can tear discs and ligaments, causing the neck to fully extend beyond normal reach.
Some fender bender accidents can also push your joints out of place or strain certain parts of your muscles. For instance, this can involve an accident where the speed limit of the incoming vehicle exceeds 6.8 MPH, resulting in a collision.
Aside from the serious injuries you receive in a whiplash, victims of a fender bender may also suffer from:
- Nerve damage
- Herniated disc
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Seizures and trauma
- Facial contusions
Property Damage Caused in a Fender Bender
Hidden and delayed injuries aren’t the only risk to worry about when it comes to dealing with a fender bender. Such accidents may also result in visible damage to property, like scratches, dents, and bumps.
These hidden predicaments may also include any damage sustained to your vehicle’s mechanics and electrical system. For instance, this includes a broken frame that often leads to a range of operational problems like:
- Hood, door, and trunk damage
- Major alignment issues
- Broken suspension and brake
Should You Call the Police After a Fender Bender?
The decision to call the police depends on the kind of damage dealt to your property and the severity of the injuries sustained in the crash.
According to Florida traffic laws, you are mandated to report a fender bender and respond to the scene of an accident if it results in sudden death, body injury, or property damage that goes beyond $500.
Whether a vehicle has sustained damage or not, people involved in a fender bender must report the crash to the police, especially when they face any discomfort and pain or suffer from crash-related injuries.
Benefits of Involving Law Enforcement
Don’t assume that a fender-bender case won’t involve law enforcement. Many motorists in Florida make this mistake. It’s always better to contact the police if you’ve witnessed or been involved in a fender bender.
In Florida, you can report a fender bender in two ways. You can file a police report for the accident by calling law enforcement at the scene of the incident or contacting the police department within 10 days from the date of the accident.
Here’s why you should contact the police after a fender bender:
- Reduce legal conflicts: A vehicle damage that exceeds $500 is not considered a large threshold to uphold. The amount is substantial for a fender bender. It should be enough to repair the cracks and dents on your vehicle’s body.
- Secure your vehicle properly: By involving the police, you ensure your vehicle is thoroughly checked for interior damage under the hood or the exhaust. If the fender bender has caused any damage to such areas, you’re liable for compensation.
- Issue a documented record: The police evaluate, check, and record everything in a fender bender. This kind of evidence or documented proof can support any legal claims you want to make now or in the near future.
- Avoid penalties by state law: When you fail to report a fender bender accident within the deadline, you may be subject to fines and other sanctions. Instead, protect your legal rights by issuing a report.
How to Claim Compensation in a Fender Bender?
It’s important to notify your insurance company about a fender bender accident if you need support paying off a large medical bill.
If you’re involved in a fender bender, there are many types of auto insurance plans that provide support, like:
- Personal injury protection
- Collision and liability insurance
- Motorist insurance
- Rental reimbursement insurance
According to the policies mentioned in the contract, insurers are required to report the accident within a specified time if they want any kind of compensation.
Reporting a fender bender won’t impact the insurance premium. On the contrary, you’ll lose certain privileges if the report is not filed.
Failing to report fender benders can impact insurance rates, especially in a case where you’re determined to be at fault. Additionally, you’ll be denied medical coverage under your PIP policy for injuries.
Insurance companies don’t care who’s at fault. Failing to report a fender bender creates a situation where you directly violate the terms of your policy agreement. As a result, you can lose your insurance coverage.
How to Handle a Serious Fender-Bender Case?
A fender bender can occur for a number of reasons, the most common being a collision by a motorist or a sudden car crash.
While there’s no standard approach to handling a fender-bender case, you must fulfill a few basic requirements.
If you’re dealing with a fender-bender case that requires more consideration or need help with compensation for any injuries, it’s best to get in touch with a reliable attorney.