When you imagine yourself calm, cool, and collected, it’s usually in a situation where you’re relaxed and in charge. It’s probably not something you picture yourself as after you just had a car accident.
Getting in a motor vehicle collision can be one of the most stressful situations you’ll ever find yourself in. But it’s also one of the times where that calmness is essential.
Chances are, you have a lot going through your mind. There’s the immediate freak-out of the impact. Then you have the potential injuries of you and others. Finally, there’s the sinking knowledge that you’re going to be late to wherever you were going.
Even as you’re dealing with processing all of these stressors, try to stay calm. You’ll make things, like these “after an accident” procedures, a lot easier on yourself in the future if you can keep your cool now.
1. Attitude is Contagious
Maybe you were the one hit, and the other person is denying their fault or being rude. It’s so easy to get angry and be obnoxious right back, but that will only make things worse.
Let them keep ranting and raving. When the law enforcement officers get there, they’ll handle it. In the meantime, any witnesses will see you calmly following after-accident protocol.
And since attitudes are contagious, who knows? By being polite, you may even be able to shift the other driver’s negative response.
2. You’ll Be Safer
When you’re angry or scared, it’s easy to lose focus on important issues, like safety precautions. Because your adrenaline is pumping, you could be injured and not notice it!
Before you do anything else, check to make sure no one in your car has any serious injuries. Then, try to get your vehicle out of the way of oncoming traffic. Put the emergency brake on and carefully exit your car to verify no one else needs emergency help.
Thinking through these small steps can prevent another accident from happening while you’re waiting for law enforcement.
3. You Can Collect Important Information
You don’t want to be the hysterical one at the scene of an accident. It’s normal and expected that you’re upset. When you’re sobbing or yelling, no one benefits, though.
If you can stay rational, you’ll be able to tell the officers your side of what happened. Don’t expect the other party to be honest. They might be, but in many cases, an at-fault person is going to fudge the details a little.
You’ll also need to think about collecting witness contact information and insurance info from everyone involved. You might even take pictures of the scene of the accident and any damage. Those photos may be helpful later if you hire a personal injury attorney.
4. You Won’t Say the Wrong Thing
When you’re talking to the police and insurance adjusters after an accident, it’s easy to say the wrong thing. Even though you didn’t mean it, it can come back to hurt your case later.
This is especially common when you’re dealing with insurance companies. Their adjusters are paid to know the tricks, like backing you into a corner with their questions.
Stay calm and think through your answers. The less you say, the better, for now. If you’re not comfortable dealing with the insurance companies, let your attorney do it for you. In fact, many personal injury lawyers recommend that once the police report is filled out, you don’t talk to anyone until you meet with an attorney.
For more information on what you shouldn’t do or say after an accident, read this article by JT Legal Group.
Whether you were at fault or not, or injured or not, getting in a car accident is a scary thing. It can be financially, physically, and emotionally exhausting by the time all the paperwork is finalized.
From start to finish, there’s a lot involved in most motor vehicle collisions. If there’s property damage or personal injuries, the red tape gets even more complicated.
Being angry and/or hysterical isn’t going to help you get through everything that has to be done. But if you can stay calm after your accident, you’ll find that everything goes a little bit smoother for everyone.