Fender Bender 101 | Tessmer Law Firm
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Fender Bender 101

I was in a fender bender.  Now what?  A minor auto collision with no injuries involved is usually not difficult to resolve.  However, the more knowledge you have, the better off you will be!  So here are some tips on what to expect if this happens to you.


In a minor collision with no injuries, the police may not make a report.  The police may not even respond at all, especially if the wreck occurred in a parking lot or on private property.  It is vital that you get the name, contact info and insurance info for the other driver.  Take a photo of their driver’s license and insurance card with your smart phone!


While you have your phone out taking pictures, take some of the cars.  Try to do this before they get moved, as it can be important in proving who was at fault.  Don’t forget to snap a photo of the other car’s license plate; and you might go ahead and get a pic of the VIN as well.  It is on the driver’s side dash, visible through the windshield, or on a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb.


Report the fender bender!  The other party may not bother to do it, but you have their insurance card, so you can.  Report it to your own agent as well, even if it was not your fault.  This could prove helpful later on.


Once the claim has been opened, you should be contacted by an adjuster who will want to hear your side of the story.  He will want to see your vehicle, or will ask you to take it to a location where the damage can be inspected and photographed.  An estimate to repair your car will be written.


If the other insurance company agrees that you were not at fault, you should receive a claim payment for repairs to your vehicle.  Remember that by law you have the right to choose where you want your car repaired.  You do not have to use the insurer’s “preferred shop”.