In a stressful situation, we often do things that feel right but aren’t helpful and may actually hurt us in the long run. Car accidents are stressful and might leave you in shock even if you suffered no injury. So, what should you avoid doing after a car accident, and if you unintentionally do something wise, how do you recover from your mistake?
Do not leave the scene
Your natural inclination may be to run but don’t do it. Almost all jurisdictions require that you stop your vehicle and report the accident after you’ve had even a minor fender bender. If you leave the scene of an accident, you run the risk of being charged with hit-and-run offenses, especially if someone is injured. Even if you’re scared you’ll be blamed, stay. Auto accidents are more complex than you might think, and portions of the blame can be assigned to both sides.
If you do run, for whatever reason, contact a lawyer immediately before contacting the police.
Do not forget to call 911
If you skip calling 911, essential information may not be retained for your defense in the future. Even if no one is hurt and the vehicle damage seems minimal, call 911. The police report will record essential details like road conditions, each driver’s statement, and witness statements as part of the public record. Once you realize your error, ensure you write down everything you remember and keep any pictures you took at the accident safely.
Do not get angry
Even if you feel like the other driver hit you on purpose, keep your cool. Emotions may be running high, and it may take a considerable amount of self-control to keep your wits about you and concentrate on making sure you do the necessary to ensure you can bring them to justice. Call the police, take many photos of the scene, and talk to possible witnesses before the police arrive. Get an idea of what they saw and take down all pertinent information. Keep yourself focused, and you’ll avoid getting upset.
Do not forget to document the accident
Taking pictures at the scene and getting statements from witnesses may be critical for defending yourself against a spurious claim. Call your lawyer immediately if you were so ruffled after the accident that you skipped this step. Sit down and write down everything you do remember. Memories are tenuous. Even in a significant life event, you can start forgetting key details the very next day, so record everything you remember as soon as you think to do so.
Do not ignore your responsibilities
Following the accident, assuming there were no injuries, you will need to report to a collision center for appraisal and to fill out a police report. The collision center will contact your insurance company, but it’s a good idea to contact them yourself. Leaving these tasks will only make your situation muddier as the case is resolved, so it’s best to deal with it as quickly as possible.
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