Car accidents can lead to serious injuries and long-term complications. As a driver, you should recognize those risks and the importance of sufficient documentation following any accident. Many drivers are ill-prepared to document an accident scene when it happens.
Here are a few steps you should always take after an accident.
Do not say anything
Following an accident, many people automatically get out of their car and say some variation of “I am so sorry!” before discussing the events that led to the incident. Resist the temptation to do so. When you apologize right away, that can seem like an admission of fault in settlement discussions or litigation. Protect yourself and avoid claiming any responsibility at the scene.
The advantage of cell phones becoming so mainstream is that everyone has a camera with them at all times. Start by taking pictures of your car, both inside and out. Do the same with the other vehicle involved and get pictures of the overall scene as well. See if any bystanders have pictures or videos that they can provide you as well.
Call the police
File a police report right away after an accident. The police report will detail who they find at fault, and it will include contact information for any witnesses. That information is valuable for filing a claim against the other driver should they be at fault.
Proactive steps at the scene of the accident can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. Remember that more documentation is always better.