#1 Leave The Scene
This is a major key.
Because let’s be honest, you wouldn’t last a day in jail.
On a more serious note, leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense. You are required by law to stay at the scene, regardless of how minor you think the accident is.
If you’ve been in a collision, one of the worst things you can do is freak out and take off. It’s grounds for prosecution. If you think the consequences of an accident are bad, leaving the scene makes everything about ten times worst.
#2 Sit in the Middle of the Road
You’re an intelligent individual. Use your noodle.
If the accident is minor, speak with the other (hopefully) intelligent individuals involved and if possible, move all the vehicles onto a side road and out of the intersection or roadway.
There is absolutely nothing more frustrating than watching two people exchange information in the middle of a busy intersection when both vehicles are 100% drivable and can be relocated somewhere else.
Moving your vehicle ends up being way safer than standing in the middle of the road anyways. Plus, you’re also doing everyone else on the road a huge favor.
When you’re in a minor accident, this is easy. No biggie, just a little fender bender. Let’s exchange some info and get on with our days.
But when the accident is more severe, it’s hard not to freak out.
Your hands start to sweat. Your heart is racing out of control. Your adrenaline is rushing faster than it ever has before. Every system in your body is screaming:
HOLY SH*T! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?
Allow yourself a quick second to decompose.
- Count to five.
- Blink twice.
- Jump on one foot 10 times.
Do whatever you need to do to calm down. Making decisions and acting on impulse will only exasperate the situation.
#4 Forget to Grab All the Proper Documentation
Pay attention. This is a two-fold assignment.
- You need to figure out what happened. Answer some important questions:
- What were you doing before the crash?
- What street were you on?
- What direction were you headed?
- When did the other driver(s) enter the scene?
- Were there any witnesses?
- What time of day did the accident happen?
Be accurate and consistent. The police and insurance adjusters are not likely to take your account of the events seriously if your story changes every time you tell it.
- You need to collect information from ‘the other guy.’ Answer some important questions:
- Drivers name(s)
- Insurance company name and policy number
- Vehicle’s license plate number
- Phone numbers and relevant contact information
Don’t forget to grab personal contact information from any witnesses there might be either. Finally, unless you live in a cave, you have a cellphone with a camera in it. Take pictures of the accident and if the other party is OK with it, take pictures of their information too.
#5 Ignore the Consequences
You think the accident sucked? Well buckle up, because the real ‘fun’ doesn’t start till after. (We’re obviously using the term fun here sarcastically).
If you were injured in the accident, you need to see a doctor immediately. The earlier you begin documenting any pain or injury you’ve experienced as a result of the collision, the better.
You’ll also need to get a lawyer.
The more organized and on top of things you are, the better protected you will be further down the road.
Don’t Forget: Many insurance companies have time limits on when you can file a claim. Plus, the faster you take care of things after the initial collision, the faster the issues can be resolved.
#6 Forget to Call the Police
A collision must be reported to police when there are any injuries, damage exceeds $2,000 or you are the victim of a hit and run.
That’s the law.
#7 Admit Blame
Unless you’re a robot, you’ll probably be feeling a bunch of emotions after a car accident.
Usually, it’s a combination of all these feelings, in varying intensities. Keep in mind, whoever else is involved in the accident is probably feeling all of these emotions too. So, don’t forget to be polite.
But wait, there’s a catch.
You can be the nicest, kindest person in the world. But do not apologize. Phrases like…
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.”
“What was I thinking?”
“I can’t believe I did that!”
are a bad idea. You should refrain from anything that can be construed as an omission of guilt.
Accidents usually happen in the blink of an eye and there are countless factors involved. Some you may not even be aware of at the time.
So be polite, but do it without apologizing. Because if you do, it could be seen as a confession of wrongdoing and could come back to haunt you later.
Have another suggestion? Hate Boston creme doughnuts?
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