It is natural to feel shaken up and uncertain in the immediate aftermath of a car crash. After all, you were expecting to arrive at your destination without event, not to have someone else immobilize your vehicle. All of a sudden, you have a very different day ahead of you and many new tasks you will have to accomplish.
Especially if you have never experienced a motor vehicle collision before, you may not know what steps to take immediately after a crash. You might unintentionally make one of the three mistakes below that will affect your rights after the wreck.
You move the vehicles right after the crash
If you are at a location without traffic cameras, taking a few minutes to take pictures of the scene of the collision and the placement of the vehicles before you move your car to ease the congestion of traffic is crucial.
Otherwise, there may not be any evidence about the actual scene of the collision. The police officer analyzing the situation will have to weigh your word against the statements made by the other driver. Moving your vehicle is a smart move for safety’s sake, but documenting the crash scene is important for your future claim.
You agree not to report the wreck
The other driver has a nice vehicle and immediately asks you if you can keep the police and the insurance companies out of the situation. They offer to pay for your medical expenses or the repairs to your vehicle.
However, you will have a very hard time enforcing those promises if they don’t follow through on them. More importantly, you may violate Alabama state law if you leave the scene of a crash that involves injury to others or property damage worth more than $500 without reporting the collision.
You apologize to the other driver
Apologies are a natural response to stressful situations even if you know you are not to blame. However, when you apologize, it will be easier for the other driver to put the blame on you.
You can express concern for the other driver without apologizing to them, the police officer or the insurance professionals that you communicate with. Avoiding any admissions of fault is usually necessary even when you think the evidence makes it clear that you weren’t the one who caused the crash.
Drivers who understand the most common mistakes that occur after collisions can protect themselves from potentially sizable financial losses. Knowing what steps to take and what mistakes to avoid will help you navigate the aftermath of a motor vehicle collision.