What is Considered a Minor Car Accident?

Car Accidents | October 30, 2023

Even after a seemingly “minor” vehicle accident, there are still steps that individuals need to take to help ensure their well-being, that they recover property damage expenses, and that they are following the letter of the law.

Even relatively minor vehicle accidents can have major financial consequences, and victims may need an attorney to help them recover the compensation they are entitled to.

What is Considered a Minor Car Accident?

When do You Have to Report a Car Accident?

In the state of California, individuals are required to report nearly any vehicle accident that occurs to the DMV. The report, which is filled out using an SR-1 form, must be completed and sent to the DMV within 10 days if anyone in the vehicle accident sustains an injury (no matter how minor), is killed, or if there is property damage worth more than $1,000.

After a seemingly “minor” vehicle accident, individuals may not think there are any injuries or that the property damage does not reach the statutory limit for reporting the accident. However, it is not uncommon for there to be significant unseen property damage to the vehicle. At the scene of a crash, it is not always possible to view the extent of the damage, particularly any damage to the frame of the car.

Go to a Doctor

We encourage any individual involved in a minor vehicle accident to go to the doctor, even if they do not feel any signs or symptoms of injuries. It is not uncommon for symptoms to appear hours or even days after the incident, so seeing a doctor as soon as possible will help establish a solid timeline between the incident and any injuries that arise, and it will also help ensure your well-being.

Failing to go to the doctor soon after a minor vehicle accident could have devastating financial consequences if injuries do arise later. Any delayed medical care could give the opposing party a reason to deny the claim or offer an unreasonably low settlement.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the cost of a vehicle accident with possible injuries is around $24,000, and the average cost of an accident with no observable injuries right away still reaches an average of $6,700. Most people do not have this kind of money to spend, particularly if they are not going to be reimbursed from an at-fault party.

Property Damage Estimates

Individuals need to seek property damage estimates from more than one mechanic or body shop. Even if there is no visible damage after a minor accident, someone needs to examine the car for any hidden property damage. Anything that looks like it could have been damaged in the vehicle accident needs to be documented, and estimates for property damage should be submitted to the insurance carrier.

Minor vehicle accidents can lead to major property damage. The NSC states that property damage only collisions reach an average cost of $5,700 per vehicle for repairs. Again, these figures are for property damage only collisions, incidents that most people would say are “minor,” but the reality is that this is an incredible amount of money for the average family in California.

We strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled car accident attorney who can assist you with this process. If you have been involved in a minor vehicle accident, you need help paying for your major expenses. An attorney can investigate your claim and work towards recovering compensation for any medical bills or property damage expenses associated with the incident.