You’ve just been involved in an accident, and you are trying to comprehend everything in the midst of the feeling of the shocking impact, the sounds of shattered glass and crashing steel, and the possible pain you might be feeling.
It’s the moment nobody wants to experience, but it you may have it happen to you several times over the course of your life. So it’s worthwhile to know the best ways to handle accidents, no matter the situation. As per the U.S. Census Bureau, about one in 13 drivers have the likelihood of getting in a car accident. So learn these basics of what not to do, in the case of a car accident.
What Not to Do After an Accident
Staying calm after a car accident can be as sticky as navigating the subsequent struggles with the car repairs and claims process. But car accidents occur every day, and there’s a proper protocol for handling them. Here are some key issues that you need not to.
Don’t Freak Out
Accidents are confusing, scary and chaotic. But getting hyperemotional does not help anything. “The trickiest part of an accident for many people is the moment right after it happens,” says David Bressman, a personal injury attorney in Columbus, OH. “Many people may find themselves in a panic after they are in a car accident, but this helps no one. If at all possible, it’s best to remain calm, as panic may cloud your reasoning and prevent you from making appropriate choices in the moment.” The best thing you can do is pull over if you can and call 911.
Even if you’re at fault in the accident, don’t apologize. However, don’t lie about the sequence of events. You can try to assist and ask the other passengers or driver if they’re okay, but Apologizing is an admission of guilt, which can make settling the case in court more difficult.
Don’t Stay in Your Car
If you can safely get out of your vehicle after an accident, do so. If the accident is terrible, the car isn’t the safest place to be. And even in the case of a minor accident, you’re likely to be safer standing on the sides of the road than remaining inside your vehicle.
Don’t Settle Without Proper Authorities
While it may be tempting to solve a minor car accident without contacting your insurance company or the police, there are several reasons why that isn’t usually a good idea. For example, you may not be assessing the damage correctly.
Don’t Give Out More Personal Details Than Is Necessary
In cases of reckless driving you may accidentally end up sharing more information than you have to, and you could. As a result, you may fall victim to an identity theft scam. Name, phone number, address, vehicle information and insurance information are the only things you are required to exchange with the other driver. Do not exchange financial information nor personal identifiers like your social security number.
If you are unsure of how to handle the situation or what to do, you can always ask a responding officer for assistance, or you can call your insurance claims hotline for help. Let’s not make an accident worse by acting wrongly.