Should you say sorry after an accident?

11th September 2019

Even if you are not physically hurt, the emotions that can arise following a collision can affect your judgement, meaning it can be difficult remembering what you need to do – as well as the things you shouldn’t do. If you have been involved in an accident, knowing what to avoid can help make your insurance claim go smoothly. Keep the following points in mind to avoid any costly mistakes.

Don’t get angry

With most of us experiencing a fight or flight response, anger can be a completely normal feeling after a crash. However, it is vital you keep calm and refrain from lashing out at the other driver as this could hold further consequences.

Never leave the scene until you have all the details you need

If you are someone who experiences a flight response after a collision, you may have a strong desire to just go home and take a deep breath. Before you do so, ensure you leave with all the information you need from the other driver and have spoken to the police if necessary.

You should note down:

  • Contact information of the other driver/s
  • The registration number of any other vehicles involved
  • Insurance details of any other vehicles involved
  • Contact information of any witnesses
  • Details of any police officers at the scene
  • And whilst it’s still fresh in your mind, make notes for yourself including the date and time of the accident, exact location and situation, and weather conditions

It can also be useful to take photos if it is safe to do so. Having all this information and evidence will really help with the investigation process.

Never admit fault

There is a process for determining fault, so it is best to let the experts handle this – even if you are certain you were at fault. Be polite to the other driver, ensure anyone involved is ok and refrain from discussing what has happened. If you give a police statement or when you call your insurance company, stick to the facts. Simply tell the story to the best of your recollection - the police and the insurance companies will review and figure out who really carries the fault.

Don’t negotiate with the other driver

If the damage is minor and nobody is hurt, it can be tempting to keep the incident off record. If the other driver is pushing for you to resolve this between yourselves it may sound like a good idea, however, there can be serious consequences for doing this.

If it is a condition of your car insurance to notify the provider of any accident and you don’t – whether you are at fault or not – you could be running the risk of voiding your cover and not having a future claim paid out.

It could also end up being that the accident was more serious than it initially appeared - putting you in a difficult position down the line. There are specific windows of time during which insurance companies require you to inform them of any accident. Once this time frame passes, you could be denied coverage for the accident.

Furthermore, if the other driver was to later file a personal injury claim, you could receive a call from your insurance company asking why you never reported the incident.

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