If you've never been in a car accident, consider yourself lucky -- and then do some preparation. Chances are that at some point you'll have to deal with an unfortunate car accident, and you need to know what to expect once you get out of your car to talk to the other people involved. Make the wrong move, and you could find your case turning sour very quickly. Here are four things to remember if you are involved in an accident.
You Could Be Recorded
Just because you and the other person involved are not filming each other does not mean that the incident and your reactions are not being recorded. Passengers, bystanders, other drivers with dash cams, store security cameras, and now even drones used for aerial landscape videography can all be recording what you're doing. Keep in mind that anything you do or say may now be on digital film -- and potentially uploaded to the internet -- so be cautious in your post-accident behavior.
Basic Apologies Could Seal a Case Against You
Even if you were the one who caused the accident, hold off on apologies. Act as neutral as possible and simply trade information. Call police if there are injuries or major damage and be truthful with the police when they get to the scene and question you, but keep conversation with the other party to a minimum.
Watch out for Social Media
You may feel like you have to rant on social media about being in an accident. No matter how innocent you are in terms of the accident, don't describe it until you've talked wth a lawyer. One wrong phrase on a publicly visible post, and any lawyers searching social media to discredit you could have their ammunition.
Do Not Blow Up -- and Do Not Assume You Know Who's at Fault
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it can be difficult to get the full story on what happened. Do not blow up at anyone and do not assume you know who is at fault until you survey the scene. Many accidents involve multiple cars -- one hits a second, pushing that car into a third, and so on -- and you may end up acting inappropriately toward someone who was another victim. This is not going to help your case when the police arrive if you're still blaming the wrong person.
If you do get into an accident, you'll need to contact a good auto accident attorney from a firm like Monohan & Blankenship to protect yourself against charges or to pursue charges against another driver or your insurance company. Call as soon as you can after the accident.