Getting caught in any kind of car accident can be a very stressful thing, indeed. You can find yourself frazzled, stressed out, and reeling to gain some control over a situation that feels well beyond it. However, you want to make sure that you have your “game plan,” otherwise you can end up unfairly having the blame pinned on you, which can have financial and even legal consequences. Here, we’re going to look at some of the mistakes that you should ensure you don’t make when you’re caught up in a road collision.

Not taking care of your health

The first thing that should be on your mind is the health effects that the collision has had on you. Don’t move or get out of the car until you are sure that you and your passengers are safe, and take the opportunity to evaluate any injury. Even if you feel fine, you have to make sure that you take a trip to see the doctor after the fact, as well. Many injuries, such as whiplash, are invisible at first and not having a record of any doctor’s trip or diagnosis can make it difficult for you to get the kind of compensation that you might be owed.

Not having a lawyer represent you

You might feel inclined to try and talk to the driver of the other car and to work things out between the two of you. In some cases, you might be able to do it just fine, with the right person assuming responsibility. However, you should always ensure that you have the contact of a car accident lawyer at the ready. If the other driver seems aggressive or is trying to pin blame, then you want to start being very careful with your communication. Have a lawyer do the talking for you to ensure that you don’t make any of the mistakes that can see you being unfairly blamed for the accident. You never know how your trip up and land yourself in trouble with your own mouth.

Leaving the scene

One of the very worst things that you can do is try to leave the scene or drive away after there has been a collision. Even if it seems like you and the other driver have come to an agreement, you should make sure that you at least exchange insurance information and get in touch with the authorities. Depending on where you are, leaving the scene of a collision before you have the go-ahead from the authorities can be anything from a misdemeanour to a felony. It could even be charged as a hit-and-run, which means you have a lot more to worry about than getting the costs of damage to your car covered.

Neglecting to call the authorities

As mentioned, before you leave the scene, it is vital to make a call to the authorities. Even if no one is hurt, you should call 911 to report the accident. Even if you come to some sort of agreement with the other driver, they may well change their mind as soon as you part ways and call the police instead. What’s more, they might not have up-to-date insurance, they might be driving a stolen car, or there may be any number of circumstances that could put you in further trouble if you have failed to call the police. There’s a good chance that the authorities might not show up at the scene if there’s no report of an injury, but you want to at least have the call on record.

Neglecting to call your insurance provider

Just as you should call a lawyer and you should call the authorities, you should also get in touch with your insurance provider. You want to make sure that they have the accident on record not only to avoid committing insurance fraud, but if you later try to get your costs covered through the legal system, your insurance company can vouch for you, showing that you did report an accident to them and started getting the ball rolling on covering the costs. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to file a claim if the other driver was responsible, their insurance should be doing that, but you should at least report it.

Getting emotional with the other driver

Emotions can certainly be high after you have gotten into a collision with another driver. You might feel like their recklessness endangered your life or you might be on the other side of the spectrum and you might want to make sure that they’re okay. Checking in on them is a good idea, but don’t talk to them too much if you’re still reeling from the accident. Getting angry and losing your cool isn’t going to do any good in helping you assess the situation. Even worse, you don’t want to assume any responsibility or blame. Don’t apologize or say it was your fault. You might just want to assuage their guilt or get on good terms, but you can end up putting the nail in your own proverbial coffin. If you assume fault, then you could be held legally liable for paying any damages.

Not gathering evidence if you’re taking the legal route

If you have it in your mind that you’re going to pursue legal action, such as if another driver is refusing to take responsibility for an accident that is their fault, then your best bet is to start collecting evidence that suggests your claim as best as possible. This can include things like taking pictures of the scene of the collision, as well as getting the contact details for any witnesses that would be willing to speak with your lawyer and with law enforcement. Of course, this is best done with the advice of a lawyer to tell you how to best do it.

Of course, the most important thing of all is to avoid the causes of accidents as best as you can. No one can control the future, but you can plan for some eventualities with the tips above to keep yourself as safe as possible.