When another driver strikes you from behind while you’re at a stoplight, or backs into you in a parking lot, it’s an infuriating experience. Likely, after the initial shock of the accident passes, the first thing that crosses your mind is how much the accident might cost you. Injuries often come with medical bills and missed days of work. On top of that, there’s likely expensive vehicle damage to repair. With all this on your mind, it can be easy to make a mistake that you’ll later regret – such as saying something that the other driver can later use against you.
The first thing you’ll have to do after an accident is exchange information. You need to get the other driver’s insurance information and contact information, so that you can sort out whose insurance will be paying for any vehicle damage or medical bills.
Don’t forget to get the names and contact information of any passengers in the other car, not just the driver. It’s also important to take the information of any witnesses to the accident if you can. It can be very helpful later on to have access to witnesses if a lawsuit arises over the accident.
After you exchange information, make sure you snap photos and videos of any damage to either car. This is essential, because you need to be able to show proof of the damage caused by the accident.
Never admit fault
Any decent person automatically feels the temptation to apologize after an accident, even when it isn’t their fault. The problem with doing this is that the other driver can later use your apology against you to prove that you were at fault for the accident.
Instead, your communications with the other driver should be limited exclusively to making sure they’re alright and don’t need medical attention, and then to getting their information.
Once you’ve done that, contact your insurance company and let them know about the accident. If you think that litigation is imminent, contact an attorney as soon as possible to begin preparing your case.
The moments right after a car accident are full of adrenaline and stress. If you can remember what to say – and what not to say – you can maximize the chances of getting through the aftermath of the accident in the most favorable circumstances possible.