If you are involved in an accident, it is only natural that you become frightened, angry, confused and may be in shock as well as having suffered physical injuries. If the accident was caused by another driver, or the cause of the accident was unclear, you should be careful in the way you deal with the driver.
If you say the wrong thing or give the wrong message, you could find that you are accused later on of being at fault or partly at fault for the accident. Although there is a legal necessity to exchange basic information, you should leave any further negotiation to a personal injury attorney.
Tip#1: Do Not Get Angry With the Other Driver
Whatever the circumstances of the accident, it makes no sense at all getting upset or angry with the other driver. The priority after any accident is making sure that everyone, including the occupants of any other vehicles involved, is safe and injuries attended to.
If you do let your feelings get carried away, you could do or say something you might later regret. It is easy in stressful situations like a car accident to allow communication to get out of control. Just stick to the basic exchange of information needed and leave it at that.
If the other driver becomes agitated or aggressive, let them know that you have phoned the police and disengage yourself. Get into and lock your own car if that is possible.
Tip#2: Do Not Say Sorry or Admit Fault
It may not be clear right away who was responsible for the accident. It may be your fault, the other driver’s fault or some mixture of the two. It is best to not admit any fault at this stage. Any such utterance can be used against you later on.
If you do decide to claim compensation for injuries, you may really need a full payment. If you have said something rashly, it may be hard to convince an insurance adjuster or a judge if the claim has to go to trial, that you weren’t at least partly to blame, even if you weren’t.
Tip#3: It is Better to Talk to Potential Eye Witnesses Rather Than Say the Wrong Thing to Another Driver
Don’t get involved in any discussion of the accident or make any excuse for your own driving. It is better to collect any evidence you can of the accident. That could mean taking photos of the vehicles and any damage done to them. A cell phone or tablet will do for these if you don’t have a camera with you.
If there are any non-involved witnesses around, you could ask them if they are prepared to make a statement. Get their names, contact details with a brief statement of what they saw happen.
Tip#4: Talk To a Personal Injury Attorney As Soon As You Can
Unless you are experienced, or even if you are, it is advisable to use a personal injury attorney to do all the negotiating with another driver and his or her insurance adjuster rather than attempt to do that all by yourself. The attorney will have dealt with cases similar to yours many times before and will know how much to push negotiations in your favor.