When something terrible happens, it’s human nature to want to apologize. But, if you’ve been in an accident, never say that you’re sorry, even if you think the accident is your fault.
An apology sounds like an admission of guilt, and while you may be sorry the accident occurred, someone got injured, or there was property damage, resist the urge to utter the words, “I’m sorry.”
To help you avoid this and other pitfalls, we created this guide for Arizona drivers about what to do after a car accident that is your fault.
WHAT TO DO IN A CAR ACCIDENT IN ARIZONA
– Stop your vehicle and get off the road: The consequences of fleeing the scene are worse than if you confront the situation head-on. Failing to stop and comply with Arizona law can result in a class 2 misdemeanor and license suspension.
– Assist any injured motorists or passengers: Call an ambulance if needed.
– Notify the police: Even if the accident had no injuries and limited damage, it’s advisable to contact the police. Arizona state law requires an accident report if there are damages over $1,000. Further, having an accident report prepared by the police is helpful because it provides an objective and factual account of the incident. Here is how to properly report your accident to the police.
– Exchange information: Get contact information from the other driver, including name, email address, phone number, and insurance information. If there are witnesses, ask for the information as well.
– Take pictures or video of the damage: Record relevant details like damages and anything at the scene related to the accident.
– Take notes: Write down (either on paper or on your phone) witness statements, observations, and other comments.
– File a police report: If the police did not show up, you should file the report yourself. We recommend taking this step because an injury you sustained might not have immediate symptoms. Further, the level of detail contained in the report can also be used to aid the insurance company.
– Contact your insurance company: The sooner you report your accident to your insurance company, the better. Regardless of who is at fault, share the details with your insurance company, that is why you purchased insurance in the first place. But just report facts as what you say could hurt you if you go to court.
WHAT NOT TO DO IN A CAR ACCIDENT IN ARIZONA
– Don’t admit fault: You might be certain the incident is your fault. But until you get the other person’s side, get an accident report, and an investigation is performed by the insurance company, you don’t know the whole story. And remember, don’t apologize.
– Don’t get angry: You might be feeling upset or emotional, but do your best to remain calm.
– Don’t share details with anyone except the police, your insurance company, and your attorney: If the other driver or their insurance company tries to contact you for your statement of the accident, direct them to your attorney.
– Don’t agree to pay for damages or sign anything agreeing that you will pay or admit fault. You pay your insurance company for a reason, so let them handle this on your behalf.
– Don’t leave too early: Wait until the other drivers have gone before you depart the scene.
The steps to take after a car accident are relatively straightforward and easy to remember. But it can be more of a challenge to know what not to do, especially if you’re experiencing a burst of adrenaline or panic.
Keep in mind that Arizona is a comparative fault state, which means that both parties may share the blame for the accident. Work with an attorney to obtain all of the facts so that fault is apportioned fairly and equitably.
If you or someone you know was involved in an accident, contact us today.
We fight for you, and as always- we don’t get paid unless you get paid.