If you’re lucky, you’ve never been involved in an accident. If you’re unlucky, or need to practice your driving skills, you may have had several accidents in your time. The moments after an accident can be some of the most stressful and emotionally trying of your life. You are in shock, confused, scared, and possibly injured. Anger can also be a big factor in your response. In those moments we can say, do, and respond in a variety of ways according to our personalities, the severity of the crash, and just the type of day we’re having. But those moments are pivotal.
The way you respond to an accident is more than just common courtesy, although common courtesy can make a big difference in results. Your post-accident behavior can protect your safety, increase the chances of an insurance claim being honored, and assure that all the boxes are checked. It can be tough to control responses and actions in the aftermath of a crash, but it’s worth it and we’ll show you how.
1. Stop immediately. Yes, it’s a legal requirement, but it’s also just proper etiquette to stop immediately. Pull safely to the side of the road if possible, and then you can find a more convenient spot for conversation if it’s loud or crowded.
2. Take A Beat. Emotional responses are both dangerous and compromising. If you can take just a few second to compose yourself and take some deep breaths you’ll be able to address the situation rationally.
3. Courtesy Counts. Even if you think that person is a terrible driver and threatened your life, screaming at them or telling them everything they did wrong will not help you. It could anger the driver, frustrate responding police officers, and even cause insurance agents to take you less seriously. You don’t need to be their best friend, but calm responses and refraining from rudeness can help everything go smoothly for you.
4. Admit No Fault. No matter what, you need not apologize or admit fault. Alternately, you shouldn’t expect the other driver to admit fault either. Trust that the process will take care of everything.
5. Get As Much Information As Possible. Pictures, insurance information, contact information, police reports. It may seem like overkill, but you can’t go back in time to get more information if your insurance requests it. Be sure to also provide as much information as possible to the other driver.
We hope you never have to deal with an accident, but if you do these etiquette rules can help you navigate the process peacefully and effectively. If you have recently been in an accident and are looking for professional help, contact us today at TJ Auto Law and we will get you taken care of.