No reasonable person would blame anyone for being shaken after a road accident. It can a traumatic experience, one that can linger for a long time even after all danger has passed. Unfortunately, legally, you can be held responsible and blamed for how you handle an accident. For that reason, we need to look at some of the biggest and most common mistakes that people make at the scene of a collision.
Mistake #1: Leaving
If you leave before you’ve been given permission, you may be found legally responsible for it. Even if the collision isn’t serious and nobody was hurt, you have to report it to the authorities first and foremost. If you don’t call the emergency services, you have committed a crime. If you don’t provide emergency first aid to anyone that has been injured, that might also be a crime. This depends on what state you’re in, but failure to stop and render aid can be a misdemeanor in any case and a felony if someone ends up seriously injured or killed. Stay put until you’re given the go-ahead to leave.
Mistake #2: Not calling your people
The sooner you inform the relevant parties of an accident, the better the chances that you will get a judgement in your favor. If you’re an injured driver or someone in your car has been hurt, you want to get legal representation as soon as possible. What’s more, you need to call your insurance company even if you weren’t at fault. If you don’t, then it can cause major complications when the other driver’s policy provider gets in touch with your own.
Mistake #3: Letting your emotions get the best of you
You need to talk to the other driver involved in the accident. The first thing you should do is see that they are okay and provide help if they aren’t. If you’re both out of the woods, you need to exchange insurance details. At no point do you apologize or admit fault because you want to keep things friendly. Nor do you let your temper get the better of you, even if your anger is perfectly justified. Keep it formal and perfunctory to stay on the right side of the law.
Mistake #4: Forgetting to record the essentials
The insurance and contact details of the other driver are the first thing you should try to record, but not the only thing. You can gather plenty of evidence after the accident. You can take the contact details of any witnesses who confirm your side of the story. You can also take pictures of the scene, which can go on to seriously help your case if you aren’t the one at fault. Again, it’s a good idea to get legal representation as soon as possible so they can start recording details as soon as they are fresh in your mind. Memories are notoriously unreliable the more distance and time you have from a traumatic experience and that can be used against you.
Ensure the safety of everyone involved, be cautious, and stay put until you’ve called all the necessary parties and been told that you’re free to leave. Even if you’re the victim of an accident, you can end up taking the blame if you make any of the mistakes mentioned above.