What You Should (and Should Not) Do Following a Car Accident
Most drivers will experience at least one car crash during their lifetime. Even the most cautious driver can fall victim to someone else's inattention or lapse in judgment. While even a minor fender bender can rattle the nerves, it is important to know the steps to follow after a car accident, as well as what you should not do.
Stop and Pull Over
No matter how minor the accident may seem, you must pull over. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime and will only make an already bad situation even worse. If possible, make sure that you and the vehicles are safely out of the flow of traffic, and do not forget to turn on your hazard lights.
Any injuries, even if they appear minor, need to be treated as soon as possible. You should still call the police even if there are no injuries. Having a neutral third party to document the details of the crash will facilitate the claims process. Without a police report, it becomes your word against that of the other driver.
This is perhaps the most important step of all. The claims process cannot proceed and damages cannot be recovered without each party's insurance information.
Document the Scene
Snap photos at the scene of any damage to the vehicles and injuries sustained. Write down what you remember while your memory is still fresh. You should also keep any repair bills, medical records, or other receipts related to the crash or medical treatment that you may require.
Get Names and Addresses of Witnesses
Be sure to collect the names and contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the accident. Do not discuss the crash with them or theorize as to who is a fault.
What You Should Not Do Following an Accident
Be extremely careful about any conversations that you may have at the scene with the other driver, witnesses, and law enforcement. Do not say "I am sorry," "I apologize," or otherwise admit any fault. Simply stick to the facts and let the police and insurance companies settle the issue of fault and damages. Even an innocent "I am sorry" overheard on the phone or posted on social media may be interpreted as an admission of fault.
For more information about how to navigate a car accident claim, contact us today.