Fender Benders in Shelton, WA: Helpful Tips
Fender benders are more than a minor nuisance. They can be downright scary, even if there’s not much damage or any injuries. After the initial collision or bump, it’s critical to know what to do in the event of a minor car accident. Questions will arise, such as: What information is needed from the other driver? Do any of the drivers or passengers need to go to an urgent care center or the emergency room to treat injuries? Should the police be called? While every situation is different, here’s a list of helpful tips for what to do when involved in a minor car accident.
1. Stop the Vehicle
- The first thing to do when involved in a minor car accident is to stop the car. Don’t block traffic, though. If both vehicles are moveable, get them off of the road and to safety. Put the hazard lights on.
- If the car is immovable or, if moving the vehicle would damage it further, make sure to put the hazard lights on and get out of harm’s way.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident. Laws vary from state to state, but in Washington State, it is illegal to leave the scene of a car accident without stopping or notifying the owner of the affected vehicle or property.
2. Call the Police
Once everyone is out of harm’s way, make sure to call the local police department and report the accident. If injuries are involved, call 911. If no one is injured, call the non-emergency dispatch number. In some cases, police only file a report if an injury occurs. However, police officers act as a neutral third party in the event of minor car accidents between two parties. They also may be able to provide a report to help with insurance claims.
3. Take Photos of the Accident
While waiting for the police or other service personnel to arrive, make sure to take photos of the damage on both vehicles. Additionally, make sure to take pictures of where the accident took place and get the surrounding areas in the background. Elements such as weather, time of day, and current traffic all affect insurance claims. If there are any witnesses, it may be a good idea to get their statements or information as well.
4. Exchange Information
Exchange insurance, contact, and vehicle information with any other drivers involved in the accident. As mentioned before, try to get contact information for any witnesses as well.
5. Call Insurance Company
After all of the drivers involved in the accident have exchanged information with each other, make sure to contact the insurance company under which the vehicle is covered. The insurance agent should go over options and give instructions on what the next steps are as far as filing a claim.
Any Medical Attention Needed?
Hopefully, no one needs any medical attention after a minor car accident. But in case they do, here are a few tips to help decipher whether they need to go to an urgent care center or an emergency room.
Difficulty or Painful Breathing
Go to the emergency room if breathing is painful or difficult. Physicians in emergency rooms have experience dealing with trauma-related injuries and can decipher whether any issues breathing are the result of a severe or minor injury.
Head or Neck Injuries
While low-speed car accidents without significant damage to the vehicle may seem minor, they aren’t necessarily injury-free. Even if the airbags don’t deploy, drivers and passengers may sustain neck, spine, or head injuries. These types of injuries can include concussions and herniated disks in the spine. The best way to decipher whether someone needs to go to the emergency room for head or neck pain after a minor car accident is the amount of pain the injured person feels. Keep in mind that adrenaline and other physiological processes can interfere with the body’s ability to feel pain.
It’s best to go to an emergency room if the injury causes moderate to severe pain in the head or neck due to the unpredictability of these injuries. For more minor aches and pains, consider visiting an urgent care facility that accepts walk-ins and has an imaging center, just in case. In any case, it’s best to get head and neck injuries checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Active Bleeding or Open Cuts
Sometimes even minor car accidents result in an open wound for either a driver or passenger. Make sure to address open wounds and cuts immediately, as infectious diseases transfer from one person to another through bodily fluids. Visible major bleeding is a clear indication that the person should go to the emergency room. However, for minor cuts and scrapes, an urgent care facility is the more appropriate venue.
Bruises or Suspected Fractures
Minor contusions and simple fractures don’t necessarily require an emergency room visit. However, be sure to inquire about whether the urgent care facility has an on-site imaging lab for suspected fractures. The first step in treatment for fractures or sprains is an X-ray to rule out other injuries, and this will be much easier if the facility has an imaging lab on-site.
Since everyone responds differently to traumatic events, make sure to check in with the injured person and see how they feel a few hours after the accident. Sometimes injuries are masked by adrenaline or other bodily functions in response to stress. If someone is in significantly more pain a few hours after an accident, seek emergency care.
Even if everyone feels fine after an accident, it may make everyone feel even better to schedule an appointment with a primary care provider to assess any post-collision worries.
How Can Westcare Clinic Help?
Here at Westcare Clinic in Shelton, WA, we have served patients for over 35 years. We aim to offer accessible and affordable services for non-life-threatening injuries. If anyone in the family has minor injuries from a low-speed car accident, we can provide on-site imaging and care for most minor injuries. Call today for an appointment or utilize our same-day walk-in services!