Depending on the types of vehicles involved and the speed at which they were traveling, collisions can result in devastating property damage and catastrophic injuries. Even individuals who find themselves able to walk away from a crash might suffer lingering soft tissue injuries, muscle strain or brain trauma.
In the past, we have discussed actions that drivers and vehicle occupants must take after a collision, but there are certain things drivers should never do after a crash, including:
- Don’t leave the scene: Even in what might seem like a minor accident, you should wait for law enforcement to catalogue the events. Always take responsibility for your role in an accident, even if it casts you in an unflattering light.
- Don’t leave your vehicle in the middle of a lane: Your immediate reaction might be to stop the car right after the collision and examine any damage. Unfortunately, if the collision occurred in a traffic lane, you risk further injury. Pull off the road to a shoulder, a curb lane or a parking lot to trade information with the other driver.
- Don’t attempt to clean up the mess: Like the last tip, do not attempt to clean debris out of the collision lane. You might be struck by passing motorists. With your car to the shoulder and hazard lights on, other drivers will instinctively know to slow down and avoid road hazards.
- Don’t admit fault: It might be a natural reaction to apologize to the other driver – even to suggest you were to blame for the accident (not paying attention, distracted by your cell phone, too tired on the way home from work). Doing this, however, might dramatically impact the course of the police and insurance carrier investigation. Stick with simply relaying the facts of what happened.
- Don’t share personal information with the other drivers: It is important to trade insurance information with the other driver in a collision, but that’s as far as you need to go. The driver does not need your personal contact information such as phone number, email address or your place of employment. If that individual needs to contact you, he or she can do so by using your insurance carrier as an intermediary.
A motor vehicle collision can be a traumatic event with emotions running high no matter your role in the wreck. It is imperative that you remember these tips following the accident. If you have questions regarding your potential insurance settlement or if your claim has been denied, it is wise to contact an experienced legal professional.