For most people, getting in a car accident will happen at some point in their lifetime. It can be a stressful situation, especially if you are unsure of what to do next.
While you may feel empathy toward another person experiencing an injury, it is still essential to be careful about what you say at the scene. There will be a time to determine who was at fault but standing at the accident location is not the place or time.
Here’s why you should be careful about your words at the scene of an accident.
When you think about determining fault after a car accident, it is crucial to keep in mind that there is more than one perspective. You may have an idea of who was to blame for the accident (whether it was you or the other driver), but the accident scene is not the place to accept or assign blame.
You and the other driver(s) will need to talk to a police officer and describe what happened. After the officer takes notes from all parties involved in the accident, your account will be compiled into a report. In most cases, the party who determines fault will do so after the accident.
What should I say?
Keep your account of the accident brief and to the point. Try to focus on stating facts rather than your opinion of what happened. Think about facts, such as:
- Density of traffic
- Condition of the road
- Traffic controls (such as stoplights)
- Location of vehicles before, during and after the accident
It is a stressful time, but try to stay calm as you give your account. Adding emotion to the situation will not give you an advantage.
What else can I do?
Once you receive necessary medical care, be sure to take pictures of the scene, the vehicles and all visible injuries you may have.
Also, take a moment to write down everything you can remember. The details of the accident may seem clear at the moment, but your memory of what happened will fade quickly.
Remember, before you do anything after an accident, make sure the scene is safe and that you contact emergency services (ambulance and police) right away.