My Bad: 3 Things Not to Do After an Accident
Accidents happen to the most well-meaning and careful drivers, and sometimes they cannot be avoided. But there are a few things you should never do at an accident scene, even if you’re pretty sure that you were at fault for the collision.
Argue With the Other Driver
An auto accident creates an extremely tense and emotional situation — don’t make it worse by getting into an argument with the other driver. If he starts screaming and yelling or acting aggressive, get back in your vehicle if it is safe to do so, lock the doors, and wait for the police to arrive.
If the other driver is not injured and is not volatile, it might a good time to exchange insurance information so that you will have what is necessary to file your claim. Keep conversation to a minimum, and don’t play the blame game.
Never admit that you are at fault for an accident, even if you believe that you are. Stick to the facts, don’t apologize, and never say, “I did it.” Remain calm and polite, and let the police conduct their investigation. If you and the other driver have different versions of what happened, the police will likely talk to witnesses, if any are available.
Even though you think your actions caused the accident, any decisions regarding fault are best left to the insurance company, as they will ultimately make the final decision.
Lie About What Happened
When the police show up at the accident scene, they will conduct a short investigation to determined who caused the accident. You will likely be asked to provide your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance.
At this point, you can choose to say nothing further and the officer will make a determination on his own, although most drivers cooperate with the police and attempt to answer their questions. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that — as long as you choose your words carefully, and stick to the facts.
Even though you should never admit fault, you don’t ever want to lie while giving your statement to the police or your report to the insurance company. Doing so may well come back to haunt you even more than the accident itself.
Image by Geoffrey Fairchild