When you hear the words “car accident,” you may instantly think of horrific, high-speed accidents involving multiple cars that usually lead to life loss. However, a car accident may also take the form of driving into the back of another vehicle, backing into a car, scraping a car as you leave a parking space, or even sliding off the road due to poor weather.
Regardless of the accident’s cause, when your car is involved, there will be paperwork and, in most cases, some form of legal entanglement. Being prepared can help you avoid car accidents, but when you have one, you also need to know the best course of action to avoid severe punitive action by the legal system.
What To Do Immediately After A Car Accident
When you have a car accident, there are a few essential things to do:
An accident can be scary, even as minor as a fender bender. It’s vital to stay calm and avoid panicking. Getting worked up and upset will lead to more drama and potentially harmful statements you’ll regret.
If you get out of your car and immediately apologize to the other driver or say you’re to blame because you didn’t pay attention, it’s an admittance of guilt, meaning you’ll likely end up paying damages to the other party (even if they are to blame). Remember that you don’t really know what happened, so don’t say incriminating things.
While you shouldn’t admit to anything, you should show care toward the other driver and check if they are okay. You will both have fragile nerves following the shock of the accident, so be polite and ask if they are okay.
It’s essential to take photos of everything. It would help if you took pictures of the cars, any injuries, mitigating factors such as other vehicles that may have obstructed visibility or missing street signs. If the weather was a factor, you should also snap photos of related factors, such as ice on the road or deep water puddles.
You and the other driver (if there’s another driver involved) should exchange contact details and the names of your insurers.
Get Supporting Views
It would be a great idea to get the details of any witnesses to the incident, especially if it were a “hit-and-run” type of accident, such as another car that drove into your parked car and the other driver drove off.
You can also collect copies of CCTV tapes from nearby cameras to ensure these don’t get taped over by the time your lawyer gets involved.
Report To The Police
The police may be on the scene, so you should ask for the officer in charge’s details and a case number, as your insurer will require this. If no police show up, such as for more minor issues like parking lot dings, you should take your photo evidence to the local police station and report the matter. Often, this involves making a signed declaration.
Best Case Scenario
If you are lucky and both you and the other driver are amicable, you will likely be able to resolve minor accidents with your insurers. However, this is rarely the case, and even if you and the driver are happy to resolve matters, the insurers’ investigators may be less happy to recommend settlement of the claims.
The result can be legal proceedings.
Find Legal Representation
When your “car ding” becomes a nightmare, it can be time to look for a specialist car accident lawyer.