If you find yourself in a fender bender, whether or not it was your fault, what should you do next? Because of the nature of insurance and police reports, there are some things you should do at the sight of the collision, and some things you should avoid. Here are a few things to keep in mind, should you ever find yourself in this situation.
- Stay calm, and think before you react. For example, don’t hop out of your car immediately. Give yourself a few moments to get an idea of your surroundings and assess whether you have been injured. Take a look outside the window to make sure you’re not in danger of being hit by another vehicle if you get out. If it’s safer to get out of your car, then get out carefully. If it’s safer to be inside, then turn your hazard lights on.
- Call the police right away if anyone is injured, if there is a pedestrian or cyclist involved, and/or there is some major damage to any vehicle involved.
- Exchange important information with the other driver(s). This includes names, addresses, contact information, license information, insurance company, policy numbers, and the license plate. Speak with them calmly and don’t get angry or defensive.
- If there are witnesses nearby, collect their contact information. Witness information can be very important later, should the case end up in court.
- If you have a phone or camera with you, take photos of the accident, including all the damage on both vehicles, the road conditions, injuries, and any other factors that might be important to demonstrate later, should the case end up in court.
- Call your insurance company right away.
- Leave the scene of the accident.
- Attempt to move anyone who is injured. The injury may be more serious than it looks. Wait for medical assistance to arrive and until then, protect the person from any further injury if they are exposed.
- Apologize. Even though often the most obvious thing to do is to apologize, this can be used against you later as an admittance of guilt in court later.
- Sign any documents other than the police report.
- Accept direct payment from the other driver if it is their fault, or offer direct payment if it is your fault.
- Start an altercation with another driver who is angry. If the other driver is the one who is angry, remain calm and wait for authorities to arrive.