What Not To Do After A Car Accident
What not to do after a car accident is not something everyone thinks about.
Shrieking sirens, curious bystanders and tow trucks descending like vultures is enough to overwhelm even the calmest post-accident driver, so it’s worth having some kind of mental checklist for the unexpected.
Obviously if you are injured you won’t be running around so some of this won’t apply.
However, if you are just shaken gather your senses as accidents do happen – so here’s what not to do.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident
Don’t panic – even a fender bender can be unnerving, of course this is easier said than done.
Take some deep breaths and remind yourself that you are familiar with the steps that need to be taken (a printout kept in the cubbyhole could help here).
Maybe phone a calm friend or partner.
- What not to do after a car accident is to leave. Whatever you do, don’t leave – removing yourself from the scene of a car accident, regardless of how minor it is, is classified as a criminal offense.
- Don’t move anything or anyone, especially if they are injured, unless they are in danger of fire or explosion, or being hit by other vehicles.
- DO move the car out of the roadway if there are no fatalities, and call the emergency services (ambulance, police) if they have not yet arrived.
If it is very minor you don’t need the police to come out but can file an accident report at the police station within 24 hours. For insurance purposes, you must file such a car accident report.
Take Details and Pictures – Not Responsibility
- Don’t forget to take extensive details of the other party’s name, address, license plate number, vehicle identification number and the name of their insurance company and policy number. Record details of the police and emergency personnel who attended the scene, along with any witnesses. Take lots of photos using your cell phone.
- Don’t discuss the details of the accident with anyone except the police (and not even with them if they were involved), and don’t admit liability, ever. Leave liability to your insurance company.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident is to Allow Tow Truck Drivers to Hassle You
- Don’t let the first tow-truck driver on the scene tow your car. Most insurers offer a free tow-in service after a car accident so make sure you have a ‘no-tow’ sticker on your car. If this is not the case, phone your insurance company and ask for their recommendation. Get details from the tow-truck driver, where they are towing it to, and how much you will be charged for towing, salvage and storage fees. Get a written quote. Don’t sign anything until you are fully aware of the costs involved. If you are an AA member call them to arrange towing by a reputable tow truck operator.
- Don’t leave any valuable personal items in the car. They are CERTAIN to disappear.
The Most Important ‘to do’ After a Car Accident is to Keep Calm
Take your time, don’t allow yourself to be rushed into signing anything or agreeing to anything that you might regret later – at great cost.
When in doubt, keep a calm friend on the phone and ask him or her their advice every step of the way. Or do the same with your insurance company.
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