In a previous post, I discussed the most important things that you can do after a parking lot accident, but there was one glaringly large topic overlooked in that post, which I thought that I should tackle for those who fear speaking to a St. Petersburg personal injury attorney in person. This issue is, of course, the matter of guilt. What should you do if you are the person at fault?
Don’t Speak It Aloud. Before considering anything else, be sure that you take a deep breath. Though it is okay to silently fess up to the mistake that you made, you should not speak the words aloud at the scene of the accident. Though it is okay to ask if the other people involved are okay, it is best to leave the circumstances of the accident unspoken. That is to say, don’t admit fault and don’t try to pass the blame. Just follow the proper protocol (discussed further below) and call the police if necessary.
There are two big reasons for remaining quiet about the details after a crash:
- 1) Your words could be used against you. The other driver, witnesses, or even the police could repeat the words that you stated if a lawsuit is filed or if the insurance companies are debating about who should pay. That could wind up costing you large sums of money.
- 2) You could be incorrect in your assessment. That’s right! It might have seemed at the time that you were at fault, but a witness might have seen it a different way or the other driver might have been distracted, thereby failing to react to your movement. There are many things that could have taken place at the time that you weren’t aware of.
Call the Police. Though I mentioned that the police may not be involved in a parking lot accident in the previous post, that isn’t to say that you can’t call them. Saint Petersburg police will assist if necessary. Filing a report can actually work in your favor later. This is especially important if anyone else involved is complaining of injury. Be honest when speaking with the police. You don’t have to admit guilt outright, but you should be honest reporting the details of how the collision occurred.
Collect Evidence. As mentioned in the previous post, it is wise to collect as much evidence as possible. In addition to taking down names, contact information, and insurance details of the other driver(s) involved, it is a good idea to take several pictures of the accident scene, and to reach out to witnesses. Take down a phone number and address for those who saw what happened.
Speak to an Attorney. In the beginning of this post, I referred to people fearing personal injury attorneys when at fault in an accident. Even if you caused it, there is good reason to speak to a personal injury attorney. He or she can help you collect the evidence. It is possible that the other driver(s) shares responsibility or that you are incorrect in assuming that you are the negligent party.
Call the Insurance Company. Do not risk getting in trouble for failing to report an at-fault accident. Remember, most parking lot accidents occur at slow speeds and cause minimal damage. Your insurance premiums may not even be impacted by filing the claim with your insurance because these companies generally have minimum losses set. That is to say that they will pay out a certain amount toward damages before assessing a penalty.