Sooner or later, most of us will be involved in an automobile accident. No matter how careful you are when driving and how good your driving record is, you are not protected from any negligent driver who decides to blow through a stop sign while texting or any other negligent event. Accidents happen. Most of us know the standard procedures to follow immediately following a car accident. Still, there are some things people should never do following a car accident. Let us review a few common mistakes people make following an accident that can really cost them later down the road.
- Do not leave the scene.
Even if you see no damage and the other driver sees no damage, you are required to stop and exchange insurance information. This is the law. Your duty is to check on the driver and passengers of the other vehicle and provide them with your name, address, insurance information, and other information. There are times when damage to automobiles (and people) are not immediately evident. Leaving the scene of an automobile accident without taking care of your responsibilities is considered Hit and Run. Hit and run is punishable by time in jail and fines.
- Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company
This is a clear case of everything you say, WILL be used against you. Your statements will be taken and used to devalue your claim and sometimes will result in you being charged with an accident that was not your fault. Your insurance company will speak with their insurance company. Your insurance company is your voice and they are the experts at resolving your damages.
- Do not skip calling the police
Many people think they do not need to call the police if no one was injured. This is not true. You need a police report to file with your insurance company. You need to establish who was “at-fault” and you need to assume there will be future legal action. If it turns out to not happen, great. But if you failed to call the police and then you are hit with a lawsuit, it will cost you.
- Do not lose your temper!
You are stressed, hurt, afraid, and frustrated. But cool heads must prevail. Getting into an altercation not only will not fix anything, it could land you in jail. The at fault driver may have been doing something incredibly stupid and careless, but remain calm and let the police handle it.
- Never admit fault
While we would never tell anyone to lie to the police, sometimes silence is golden. The fact is, you may believe the accident was your fault, but you may find out later, there were other circumstances that you did not notice. Tell the simple facts, as you remember them. Document everything while it is fresh in your mind. If the accident turns out to be fully your fault, you will know soon enough and your insurance company will handle the situation.