What NOT To Do Following a Vehicle Collision

Vehicle accidents are unforeseen and nerve-racking events that can leave you feeling beleaguered and bewildered.

In those crucial minutes following a motor vehicle accident, it’s important for accident victims to remain calm and collected to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being. Nevertheless, there are certain activities that can further aggravate the situation or muddy your chances of a smooth resolution.

Let’s face it. Vehicle accidents can occur with little or no warning, with crash victims left hanging in traumatic situations. As such, judgements may be a bit off immediately following the collision.

That said, here are a few things that you should NOT do following a motor vehicle collision.

Do NOT leave the scene

Let’s say you’re involved in a collision but it’s not a bad one. You’ve collided with another vehicle, but the damage is minor. No one appears injured at first glance, so you’re cool to drive away. Right?

Wrong! One of the biggest mistakes you can make following a collision is fleeing the scene, regardless of the seriousness of the crash. Departing from the scene of an accident is not only against the law but can also result in grave end results. Call 911 and wait until the police arrive to write a police report. If anyone needs medical assistance, the police will dispatch medical personnel to the scene of the accident.

Do NOT lose your cool

A vehicle crash is never an enjoyable occurrence. Your emotions are high, and you may even be injured. Despite this, you should never lose your cool, particularly towards the other driver. Yes, even if it was their fault!

The first question asked of the other driver should be, “Are you alright?” Do NOT begin placing blame or yelling at them. Take several deep breaths and remain calm. You have to be in a good frame of mind to properly evaluate the situation and do everything to accurately document the accident.

Here’s one more thing you should never do: Tell people at the scene it was your fault. If you do so, you’re acknowledging liability which could subject you to a lawsuit or other penalties later on.

Do NOT forget to document the accident 

While law enforcement will gather evidence for a police report, it won’t hurt to have your own documentation as well.

You need to jot down all the details, including the time and date as well as the conditions, such as rain or snow, when the incident took place. Record license plate numbers and other important information.

If you fail to properly document an accident, it might be a problem to prove what took place in court should you or another party file a lawsuit. Your insurance provider will also want to know precisely what happened.

Photos of the incident can become crucial to your case, showing details such as skid marks, whether you had your hazard lights on, positions of the vehicle and road conditions.

Do NOT admit fault

Yes, it’s normal to feel guilty or sense responsibility following a collision but avoid saying, “It’s my fault,” or “It was my fault, too.” Do not apologize or accept blame at the scene. Once they have you on record taking the blame (partial or full), the words can be used against you. Yoo may even be sued.  

Do NOT forget to exchange information with the other driver(s) 

Even if others involved in the collision attempt to brush you off by saying not to worry about it, get their name and address, plus their auto insurance company and policy number.

If there are witnesses, you may also want to swap information with them. Yes, your insurer may want to speak to them, but they can also back your claim if the other driver is unpleasant, even hostile.

Do NOT neglect the aftermath 

Being entangled in a collision is tough enough, but the difficult part often comes in the aftermath. You may have to seek medical treatment if you are injured. You might have to field calls from the insurance providers of the other parties involved. You may even be served legal papers.

If you avoid following up on these sometimes-annoying tasks, things will only get worse. A skillful vehicle accident lawyer can help you handle the aftermath of a collision.

Do NOT speak to the other party’s insurer without a lawyer

If possible, don’t speak to the other driver’s insurance company before consulting with a vehicle accident lawyer. Not every insurer that handles accidents acts in good faith, and your wellbeing may not be among their concerns.

A vehicle accident lawyer can either assist you to produce a statement for the other driver’s insurance company or even speak to the insurer on your behalf. Conferring with a lawyer is the safest way to protect your rights and prevent having to dispute a denied or devalued claim.

Do NOT forget to report the accident to your insurance company

Unlike the other driver’s insurance company, your own vehicle insurance company should be one of the first calls you make following a collision.

Remember, too, many insurance companies have time limits on when a claim can be filed, so get on it a.s.a.p. It’s also best to know what your own insurance covers ahead of time – you really don’t want to discover you’ll be paying for a rental car out of your own pocket.

Also, as mentioned in a prior blog, you have the right to opt for any repair shop of your choosing.

Don’t be hesitant to keep on top of the insurance company. Maintain steady contact with them as well as the repair shop.  

Do NOT post anything on social media

In this age of social media, one of the biggest mistakes people make is posting photos and narratives about the accident online. Yes, you want friends and family to be aware of what took place. But the information posted online can be used to reduce or even dismiss your claim by the insurance companies involved.

DO contact Becker Body Shop for a free estimate

Okay, all the preliminaries are out of the way and it’s time to contact a body repair shop for a quote on the damage that resulted from the collision. Look no farther . . . Becker Body Shop is a leading body and collision repair center, serving Hummels Wharf, Selinsgrove, Shamokin Dam, Sunbury, Northumberland, Lewisburg, Winfield, Danville and beyond.

For a free estimate, give us a call at 570-743-5882.