Accidents do happen, and sometimes it happens so fast that you end up bewildered and confused as to what happened. Most drivers will not directly admit to a fault, at least verbally, and accusations may lead to unpleasant outcomes if placed in the wrong line of thinking.
So, here are some ways to determine who’s at fault and how to assess and process an accident. Remember, don’t go all out with your accusations, then proceed to the first step.
Disclaimer: This article seeks to give the reader advice on how to process and assess critical thinking surrounding car accidents, not to blame another party. As such, it is important to mention that not all accidents can apply these steps, so take these pieces of advice with a grain of salt.
Before anything else, remain calm and assess the situation. If it’s a fender-bender or a low-spewed hit, it’s likely that you’ll be totally fine. Still, however, it’s good to check on yourself and the rest of your passengers if anyone is shaken up or injured especially in the event of a major accident.
Following this, ready your insurance policy whether it is an e-policy or a hard copy, remember where you’ve placed it, but don’t take it out yet until it is time to exchange details.
Breathe deep first, check on the other occupants if any, put your vehicle in park or engage the parking brake, and calmly exit the vehicle and follow these steps.
Once out, check the damage as well as the surrounding area. Look at the traffic conditions in the area and where the other vehicle was coming from. Intersections and blind corners are among the most accident-prone areas on the road, especially the ones without stoplights, road signs, or massive blindspots.
Recount and picture how the accident may have happened. It also helps to be aware of the laws and the flow of the traffic in the area.
Get your phone out, take pictures, and remember the arrangement of cars. Be sure to take photos not only for yourself, but also for your insurance company. The other party should also do the same.
So who bumped who?
This is a bit tricky. Sometimes the car that bumped you gets involved in the accident because either party was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or either suddenly came to a stop. Or the driver in the other car wasn’t paying attention or cut it a little too close for comfort. Head-on collisions can be very serious given enough speed, but again, remember who’s at the wrong place at the wrong time. In any case, use the information gathered after you’ve surveyed the incident. Again, determine the traffic laws and road layout. Try to recreate the events leading up to the accident.
Remember the road markings as well to see whether either party was in the wrong lane or making a wrong turn or maneuver. In this case, the person on the wrong side of the road would hold more responsibility.
Speed is not always the determining factor in an accident, as it also may depend on the right of way on the road. Users going down a main road will need to achieve a higher speed, while users coming from smaller roads must not eat a majority of the thoroughfare in order to keep the flow of traffic on the main road as uninterrupted as possible.
Head-on collisions can be treated the same way. If a party counterflows, it’s more likely that the accident could have been avoided entirely if they stayed in their lane.
If there is a stoplight or intersection, either party must slow down first before crossing. Failure to do so will mean that either party may be at fault.
All this means is that there are a few ways that either party can be at fault, either could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, not paying attention, or experienced a mechanical failure of some sort leading up to the accident. These are only a few of the types of accidents you may encounter on the road. You can also bring out your dashboard camera footage if you do happen to have one in order to review the incident. Be sure to save the file should you need it to file an insurance claim.
Do you blame them?
So if you’ve determined that you’re at fault or the other party is at fault, it’s still going to weigh heavily on your insurance company. It’s important to gather all the details such as a police report and all the appropriate photos with your plate number and the other party’s plate number in view so you can file a proper claim.
As much as possible, you do not want to immediately point the finger at someone right after you’ve gotten into an accident. Calmly explain your side of things to the other party, and ask to go to the police station to file a proper report and reach a settlement. Present what you want to present such as dashboard camera footage, exchange contact details, and make sure to get all the details of the incident.