Being in a car accident can be very scary. If you’re lucky enough to not have been injured in the crash, then you may be wondering what you need to do afterward. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about a no-injury auto accident.
What Is a No-Injury Auto Accident?
A no-injury auto accident is a car accident that doesn’t result in injuries for any of the people involved. Also known as property damage-only (PDO) crashes, these are by far the most common types of car accidents in the United States. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that over 70 percent of all car crashes don’t result in any injuries.
What Should I Do After a No-Injury Auto Accident?
It can be easy to forget what to do after a car accident. If you were just in an auto accident and don’t think you suffered any injuries, then you should do the following:
- Confirm that no one is injured: Sometimes, the adrenaline from the accident will make us overlook some pain. Check every part of your body to confirm that you don’t have any unusual pains or aches.
- Find a safe place to assess the damage: Do not get out of the car until you’ve found a safe place to park. Pull into a parking lot or to the side of the road before getting out of the car to investigate the damage.
- Contact the other driver: The best way to do this is to approach in a friendly way, without making accusations. Get all the relevant information from them, such as their insurance company, contact information, and details of their car.
- Take pictures of the incident: Taking photos of both vehicles and the collision area will help tremendously when dealing with your insurance claim. Take as many pictures as you can, as this can help dispel any claims of existing damages and external contributions to the crash.
- Get a police report: If you’re on a public road, then you should call the police and tell them what happened. They may or may not come to the scene to fill out a report for a no-injury accident. If the police don’t come after the accident, they might ask you to come to the station instead. If you are on a private road, such as the parking lot of a business, then you should ask them for the procedure to file a report.
- Get a repair estimate: Take your car to a body shop to assess the damage and get a quote for making the required fixes.
- Call your insurance company: Once you have a car accident report and a repair estimate, you’re ready to call the insurance company and file your claim. The company will give you a claim number and assign an adjuster who will help you through your claim.
Can I Sue if I Wasn’t Injured in an Auto Accident?
Most car accident lawsuits involve personal injuries sustained by the victim. Like other car accidents, no-injury auto accidents depend on the four elements of negligence to determine whether the driver at fault is responsible for the damages of the victim. These elements are:
- A duty of care was owed to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached this duty of care
- The plaintiff suffered injuries because of this breach of duty of care
- The plaintiff wouldn’t have suffered such injuries if it wasn’t for the defendant’s actions
Since no-injury accidents do not involve the last two elements, it is unlikely that you would be able to recover damages in a personal injury case. In a case involving injuries, you would be able to claim economic, non-economic, and sometimes even punitive damages related to your injuries. None of these damages would be available in a no-injury auto accident case.
However, you may sue the insurance company of the at-fault driver if it refuses to cover all the expenses related to the accident. This involves proving that the insurance company is required to pay for property damage and is refusing to do so, instead of proving the elements of negligence mentioned above.
Will a Personal Injury Attorney Take a No-Injury Car Accident Case?
Car accident lawsuits are typically handled by personal injury attorneys, who may decide not to take no-injury car accident cases since the compensation award is limited to the extent of the property damage. If you want to sue an insurance company for refusing to pay, then look for an attorney with experience handling no-injury auto accident cases.
How Much Compensation Can I Get From a No-Injury Auto Accident?
According to a Martindale-Novo survey, the average compensation for a no-injury auto accident is $16,700. The amount for you will depend on the severity of the damages to your car as well as the willingness of the insurance company to cover the expenses.
Do I Have To Report a No-Injury Auto Accident?
You generally don’t have to report an accident if it didn’t cause any injuries or significant property damage. However, the thresholds for requiring to report a car accident vary by state.
In Texas, you are only required to report an accident to the police if it meets at least one of these conditions:
- It caused injury
- It caused death
- It resulted in $1,000 or more of property damage
In Louisiana, you are only required to report a car accident if at least one of these is true:
- It caused injury
- It caused death
- It resulted in $500 or more of property damage
It is worth noting that both $500 and $1,000 are very low amounts when it comes to car crashes. Even a simple fender-bender can result in thousands of dollars of damages. Thus, it is wise to always file an accident report just to be safe.
How Long Do I Have To Report a Non-Injury Auto Accident?
Most states require all accidents to be reported within 10 days, although there are some exceptions. For example, Texas requires all accidents to be reported within 10 days, but Louisiana has a 30-day reporting window.
Should I Hire a No-Injury Auto Accident Lawyer?
You should hire an attorney if you are owed financial compensation for damages to your property after an accident. Even if you didn’t suffer any injuries, you are entitled to compensation for your property damage if the other driver was negligent. Hiring a no-injury auto accident attorney from Morris & Dewett will give you the best chance to receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (318) 221-1508 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.