When you’re at the scene of a car accident you’ve been involved in it’s likely you’ll be feeling shaken and distressed, even if the accident was minor. When you get out of your car and speak to the other driver (or drivers) involved in the crash it’s vital that you are careful about what you say as this is the time when discussions will start about who caused the accident.
Even if you feel you may have caused the accident you might not be in a fit state to take in the bigger picture and make a rational decision about your part in the accident. For example, you might have run into the side of another vehicle but you might not necessarily be to blame if they cut in front of you or jumped a red light for example. Admitting you caused an accident in the heat of the moment and later finding out you were not to blame could hinder your car accident claims process if you’ve been injured in the crash. Also, injuries from car accidents don’t always present themselves straightaway as adrenaline triggered by the stress of the accident can sometimes mask the pain of an injury as well as affecting memory. Injuries such as whiplash can take a day or two to develop so it’s important not to state on record that you haven’t been injured as you won’t necessarily know at that point.
When the police arrive on the scene talk to them, not the other driver or drivers, about what happened and only comment on what you actually remember and don’t try to be helpful by elaborating on events or try to ‘frame’ the other driver by commenting on things you’re not sure of. A study completed by the University of California found that, “chemicals released in response to acute stress undermined communication between brain cells involved in the formation and processing of memories.” This means your memory might not be reliable in this kind of stressful situation so just focus on the facts you’re certain of.
So if you are involved in a car accident, try to keep calm and focus on the facts and don’t get into any dialogue with the other parties which could result in you being unfairly blamed for the accident and affect your car accident claims process.