Perhaps the best example of individuals’ inherent propensity to make mistakes is car accidents. In 2015, more than 6.2 million crashes occurred on the nation’s roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They’ve numbered in the millions for several years now, and in almost 95 percent of cases, they’re attributable to human error.
For much of the same reason, in the aftermath of a car crash, the people involved will often make apologies or take liberties that they shouldn’t. With nerves frayed and tempers short, one can understand how these gaffes can happen. But if you’re injured in an automobile accident – and 2.4 million were in 2015, according to the NHTSA – these flubs can be costly. The following are a few pointers to keep in mind after a collision:
1. Don’t leave the scene
Leaving the scene of an accident isn’t just a bad idea; it’s against the law. But all too often, in a fit of panic or fear, motorists will speed off, failing to acknowledge what just happened or if anyone was hurt. This is a costly decision that is a lose-lose situation for everyone involved, no matter which party is ultimately to blame. Regardless of how minor an accident is, the smartest move is to remain on the scene. Leaving could be used against you if the accident results in a legal dispute.
2. Don’t forget to call authorities
Car accidents tend to be fluid situations that require reinforcements – like the police – to ensure that as much as possible remains normal. That’s why it’s important to call the proper authorities to describe what happened and determine the next steps. The dispatcher will relay the specifics to all relevant parties, such as the police and an ambulance if the accident is serious. This documentation can corroborate claims made in court.
3. Don’t lose your temper
If an accident was someone else’s fault, or the other driver disputes who is to blame, a cordial conversation can quickly turn into a shouting match. Getting angry and upset doesn’t result in anything besides further fraying rattled emotions. Additionally, it reduces the chances of the other driver wanting to resolve the issue as quickly and painlessly as possible. Take a deep breath and keep your composure no matter what.