Every day we are out on the roads with thousands of other drivers –all of us trying to get to our jobs, schools and homes. And of course, every great once in a while the law of large numbers catches up with us and WHAM, we find ourselves in an accident on the roads. Here are a few quick tips for what not to do in case of an accident or fender bender.

1. Don’t Lose Your Cool – Even if you are not at fault (especially if you are not at fault), nothing good happens after you lose your cool. More likely than not, the police are going to show up on the scene and when they do, it is not in your best interest if you are screaming at another party involved in the accident. Remember, it is called an accident for a reason.

2. Don’t Fail to Document the Event – Immediately following an accident, you must do your best to advocate for yourself if possible. Assuming you are in the condition to do so, do your best to write down everything pertaining to the accident. In addition to the other driver’s name, contact info and insurance info, write down his or her vehicle’s make,model, color, VIN number, license plate number and even the number of passengers in the car and where they were sitting. You should take down the weather and road conditions at the time as well as the time of day. You will want to be well prepared for dealing with their insurance company, your insurance company and even the court system should it come to that.

3. Don’t Hesitate to Call the Police – Be wary of folks who are too eager to “take care of this without involving the police or insurance companies.” Often, those are the types of folks who no one ever hears from again. Not long after, you are the one stuck with repair and medical bills…and a slip of paper with a fake phone number on it, of course.

4. Do not Leave the Scene – We think it goes without saying. Leaving the scene of an accident is generally considered a major no-no in the State of Delaware and everywhere else in the US for that matter. If you want to turn a bad situation worse, leave the scene of an accident.

5. Fail to Recognize What’s Next – Accidents tend to have repercussions and consequences. There may be injuries even if it looks like everyone is okay at the scene. If there are injuries then you can bet there will be legal action. In short, don’t hesitate to follow up with your insurance company and you may well want to consult an attorney especially if another party is jumping to threaten a lawsuit.

Obviously, every accident or fender bender is different and some are clearly far far worse than others. However, at Giordano, DelCollo & Werb, we invite all of you to drive safely and follow these simple rules should you have the unfortunate luck to be involved in an accident.