It can happen to anyone. You’re driving along, the kids distract you, you turn around to correct them, and BAM – the car in front of you stopped and you smack into the back of them. Or, you’re making a turn and because of a slight misjudgment, you turn in front of an oncoming vehicle and WHAM – you’ve caused a wreck. No matter how you might cause an accident, the bottom line is; if it is your fault, you need to know how to react. A wreck is bad enough without making things worse by responding in a wrong or inappropriate manner that could see you subject to a law-suit, or worse, incarceration. The following tips will help you avoid that scenario.
Don’t Say Anything
The natural response most of us will have to causing an accident is to get out of the car and apologize profusely to the other driver and any passengers that are with them. Though it goes against our civic nature, in this case it is the wrong thing to do. Apologizing is an admission of guilt, and even though you are quite sure the accident is your fault, you should save that for later.
Whatever you say can be used against you, and besides, the evidence when examined, may show that you were not at fault, or at least not completely to blame. The other driver’s brake lights may have been out, or the car that hit you while you were turning may have been speeding. Things happen fast in accidents, and sometimes, even though we might think we are guilty, we may not be.
The insurance provider of the guilty party will be required to pay for damages and repairs. Don’t let this stop you from asking if anyone is hurt or needs medical attention though, just avoid general conversation or discussing the accident with anyone else involved, including witnesses.
Do Call the Police
You should of course call the police immediately. Just wait quietly until they arrive, and remain away from the others involved. Remain as calm as you can and answer the questions you are asked honestly and clearly. Keep your answers short and simple; don’t offer any extra information. Whatever you do, make sure you call the police, as not involving the authorities could cause you to lose your insurance coverage or worse in some areas.
Do Take Pictures
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, take pictures. Almost everybody has a cell phone with photo taking capabilities these days, and if you don’t have one, it might be worth investing in one. Take pictures of the scene from as many angles as you can. That includes the surrounding areas as well, including road signs, or skid marks in the road. You never know what might be of significance in the verdict.
Do Inform Your Insurance Provider ASAP
You should inform your insurance provider as soon as possible; definitely within 24 hours. Relay the details as accurately and completely as you can and let them know you have pictures available if they require them. Ask if they need to have someone view your car and document any damage before taking it in for repairs. It is also wise to ask your agent if there are any other state reports or forms that you need to fill out, and with whom they must be filed.
It may be hard to keep calm and follow these tips in the event of an accident, but doing so will save you from getting burned by unscrupulous individuals, wrong information, or incorrect or distorted facts. Your insurance can help you get through an accident, but being prepared with how to react can help your insurance provider to help you.