It is a beautiful spring day, and you are headed to meet a friend you have not seen since high school. Your mind is wandering as you remember the fun the two of you used to have. You pop an old mix CD into the car stereo. One of your favorite songs comes on, and you reach to turn the volume up. You hear the squeal of brakes as you look back up at the road; you feel the jolt as your car suddenly comes careening to a halt.
You step out of the car, and apologies flood into your mind. “I never saw you coming!” and “I only looked down for a second!”. As the driver of the other car approaches, you begin to say you are sorry but you catch yourself. Your earlier thoughts slip through your mind, but instead you simply say “I am glad you are ok. We should call the Highway Patrol.”
You made the right choice. Often, in surprise situations, we unintentionally say something that can be held against us later. Despite what we may have been doing, we do not know what the other driver was doing in that moment. Providing conclusions can deflect an investigation, and your slip of the tongue can wind up costing you for an accident you may not have caused.
While waiting for the Highway Patrol officer to arrive, the other driver asks you to write down and sign what you remember of what happened while the incident is fresh in your mind. You decline, wanting to wait until you have spoken to the investigating officer, your insurance company, and your attorney.
Finally, the Highway Patrol officer arrives. She begins by asking each of you what happened. You tell her the facts and keep it simple—you were driving down the road when suddenly your car and another car collided. You cooperate with her investigation and do not add unnecessary conclusions to your retelling. You take and sign the ticket she provides to you and leave the scene.
When you get home, you contact your insurance agent and an attorney to let them know what has happened. A couple of days later, you get a call. It turns out that the other driver had not stopped at the end of his driveway and had unsuccessfully swerved to move out of your way. Despite the fact that you were not looking at the road, the other driver was more at fault than you were. The accident was caused by his failure to follow the law. You did the right thing at the accident: you did not admit anything and you did not sign something that could have been held against you later.
A car accident is a scary and serious incident. Sorting out who is responsible after a crash can be complicated, but you don’t have to go it alone. If you or a family member was badly injured in a crash, call us at 888.777.1776 or use our online contact form. Delays can hurt your case, so please don’t wait.