A car accident can be quite stressful, whether it’s a minor fender bender or a major wreck. The stressful nature of these situations increases the likelihood that drivers will make critical errors that may compromise their ability to obtain just compensation. To minimize this risk, it’s important that every driver understand exactly which steps to take and which mistakes to avoid because a car accident in Baltimore can occur at any time.
Apologizing to the Other Driver
In the U.S., society tends to view apologies with high regard. It seems natural to apologize in many situations and this isn’t always seen as being an admission of fault. However, in the wake of a car accident, simply saying “I’m sorry,” or “I didn’t see you over there,” may compromise your claim. The other driver and the insurance company may try to claim that this statement is an admission of fault on your part and therefore, your rightful compensation may be denied or reduced. If the other driver displays anger or demands an apology, all you need to say is something similar to “Here’s my accident lawyer’s card. Please direct all of your questions to him or her.”
Making a “Gentleman’s Agreement”
If the car accident is minor and the damage is minimal, the other driver may ask you to make a verbal agreement with him or her to handle the situation without getting the police or insurance carriers involved. Making a gentleman’s agreement is never a good idea and it usually indicates that the other driver doesn’t have insurance. Always file a police report after a crash and notify the insurance company.
Neglecting to Document the Scene Properly
Most people know that they are supposed to exchange insurance information after a car accident. But many fail to take the additional step of documenting the scene. This evidence can be critical in substantiating your claim. Documenting an accident scene is straightforward. Take photos of all involved vehicles, the injuries, skid marks on the road, traffic signs and lights, and other significant features of the area. Ask eyewitnesses to provide their full names and contact information. If they have time, these witnesses may be willing to provide a written, signed statement before leaving the scene. Give your accident lawyer a copy of all of this evidence, as well as the police report.