Being in a car accident is always stressful and scary, especially if it is your first one. Many young drivers are unaware of the proper steps that must be taken. In fact, sometimes they do things completely wrong. If you are involved in a crash, you need to be prepared. Here are common mistakes made after a first motor vehicle collision and what to do instead.
1. Leaving the scene
You might be tempted to leave the scene of the accident. Dealing with a law enforcement officer, insurance companies and lawyers might seem daunting to young drivers, so they just leave. This is especially common if the damage was minor.
This is the wrong move. No matter how minor the accident was, you should always check on the other party involved and report the incident to law enforcement. You may have sustained injuries that are not immediately noticeable-failing to file a police report may make it harder to prove a potential personal injury case in the future.
2. Forgetting to contact the authorities
You might be tempted to deal with the car accident without involving law enforcement, particularly if no injuries are immediately noticeable. The other driver might want to make an agreement to hand all the responsibility to insurance. This is risky, as you do not know if the other driver has insurance or if it is up to date. Filing a police report ensures everything is on the record and helps make the claims process more efficient.
While you may want to be considerate and apologetic, avoid saying you are sorry for the accident. A simple statement such as, "Sorry, I was not paying attention," might count as an admission of guilt if the incident goes to court. Avoid apologizing, even if you think the collision might have been your fault. Simply ensure the other driver is not injured, then exchange contact information and necessary documents.
People make these three mistakes more often than you may think. Whether you are tempted to avoid a claims process or you just want to seem nice, be sure not to make the above missteps. Do not neglect the responsibilities you have after your first car accident. By staying at the scene, filing a police report and exchanging information with any other party involved, you will be on the right track. If you were injured in the accident, you should take further action. Consult a personal injury attorney to find out your options regarding a claim and compensation.