You might have a case if there was no damage in a car accident. You may not want to file an insurance claim over a barely seen scratch or dent on your car. But, what might seem like a minor accident can lead to significant problems—for you and your vehicle—later on.
Additionally, you could face physical and financial repercussions for not filing a claim
Proving That I Have a Case Without Obvious Damage
Your physical injuries and your vehicle malfunctioning can help you prove your case. If you sought medical treatment for injuries after your no-obvious-damage accident, you could use your medical records as proof.
You can suffer bodily injuries in a minor car accident just as you can in a major car accident that causes thousands of dollars in damages. Your medical records will show how the accident caused you to develop injuries that affected your health.
Additionally, a minor car accident can cause problems under the hood of your car. For instance, if you swerve to keep another vehicle from colliding with yours and you hit a curb, a pothole, or another object, you can knock your car out of alignment. If your “Check Engine Light” starts to flash, this means that you should have your vehicle’s engine checked as soon as possible.
Filing a Police Report
Reporting your accident to the police is another way of proving that your accident happened. Although a police officer may not respond to a minor car crash, you and the other driver can go to the nearest police department to report the accident. The other driver’s refusal to cooperate should not prevent you from filing a report.
Having a police report will help your motor vehicle crash lawyer because it serves as official documentation of your accident. And, insurance companies will ask for a police report when deciding whether to pay a claim, whether or not you have a case if there was no damage in a car accident.
Reporting a Minor Accident When There Is No Obvious Damage
In some instances, you should report an accident to preserve your right to file an insurance claim. For example, if another driver tapped your bumper or ran you off the road, and you suddenly applied your brakes, the impact of braking suddenly can make your head jerk forward or backward. Later on, you may start feeling pain in your neck or lower back. Late-onset pain may be a symptom of a severe back or neck injury.
The example above could be whiplash. Call our spinal cord injury and car accident attorneys to see how the details of your case affect the possible payout.
But, if you and the other driver (if the driver stops, that is) both agree not to report the accident, you forfeit your right to pursue compensation from the other driver’s insurance company for your back, neck or any other injury that may develop later.
When You Should Not Report a Minor Accident
A general rule for deciding whether to report a minor accident with no visible damage is whether the cost to repair your vehicle is less than your auto insurance deductible and if there were no other vehicles involved in the accident.
For example, you would not contact your insurance company if:
- You hit your garage door
- You were too close to the side of your garage while backing out and you scraped the paint off of your side mirror or your car door
- You backed into a pole
These are minor fixes you can make on your own.
Accepting Payment on the Scene from the Other Driver
If a driver wants to give you cash so you can buy paint for your car to cover up a scratch or bang out a dent, do not accept the offer. By taking the money, you agree not to report the incident to the police or your insurance company.
Tennessee is a fault state when it comes to car accidents. A “fault state” means that the driver who caused a crash pays for damages resulting from the wreck. The at-fault driver’s insurance company usually pays for the majority of costs.
An at-fault driver giving you cash up front—or agreeing to give it to you later—is not a legal way to fulfill the state’s fault law.
Let Us Help You With Your Car Accident Case
We have decades of experience building strong cases that involve significant vehicle damage or hardly any damage at all.
- Investigate your case
- File a claim on your behalf
- Negotiate a settlement that compensates you for your losses
We work on a contingency basis which means you do not pay for our services unless we recover compensation in your case.