No one expects they’ll be in a car wreck when they start their day, but auto accidents aren’t a rare occurrence. In fact, an estimated six million car accidents happen in the U.S. each year.
The shock of a collision can rattle even the most composed of drivers. But while it may be challenging to keep a clear head in the moment, you must follow the necessary protocols after any type of accident – even minor fender benders. Avoiding these common mistakes at the scene will ensure you are protected.
1. Don’t skip calling the police
There is a common misbelief that if there are no injuries and the collision seems minor, there’s no need to get law enforcement involved after an accident. But failing to obtain an accident report from police could hurt you in the long run.
One in eight drivers in the U.S. is uninsured. Should you discover later that the other driver has no coverage, you may end up footing the bill. What’s more, is without an accident report, you may not have substantial proof of your accident. Documentation of the wreck will help to speed up the insurance claim process and ensure you get the coverage you require.
2. Don’t forget to gather evidence
The more details you can provide your insurance company after an accident, the better. According to the Insurance Information Institute, you’ll want to document the name, contact information and insurance ID number of all parties involved, as well as the make, model and license plate of their cars.
Note the time of day, the weather conditions and the direction you were traveling, too. Use your smartphone to take pictures of the scene and record the necessary details. You’ll want to document this information as soon as possible when your memory of the event is still intact.
3. Don’t ever admit fault
Emotions are running high after an accident, but you should limit your interactions with the other driver to getting the necessary information. Never discuss the details of the accident or admit fault to the other party.
Admitting fault makes you legally liable for the accident, which could result in a lawsuit or other penalties. You can still be respectful and make sure everyone is safe after an accident while also protecting your rights.
It’s difficult to keep a level head after a car wreck, but mistakes could interfere with getting the compensation you deserve. By taking the appropriate actions, you can focus on getting your car repaired and getting things back to normal.