After two people are in a crash, there is no way to know how the other will react. They may be angry, hurt, confused, etc. We get asked from people and clients if they should speak to the other driver. I tell them to use their best judgement, not share too much information, but try to do so with the police present if you must.
Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis.
We’ve been discussing questions we get from clients or potential clients or family and friends following a car crash here in San Antonio. Normally, we get the same standard questions and, normally, we give out the same standard advice. There are a few things that should be done after a car crash and that’s what we’re trying to talk about in this series of podcasts.
One of the things that we are always asked about and that we always discuss is how to interact with the other driver.
Whether you’re at fault or they’re at fault or they’re at fault but blaming you or vice versa, there are a few things that need to be done. One, we always tell everybody to call the authorities. If it’s an emergency, call the emergency line which is 9-1-1. If it’s not an emergency, there’s no injuries, there is no public safety danger and no cars on fire and no reason to believe an emergency exists, call the non-emergency line. At the end of the day, it’s always better to have a third-party document what they see and what they know and what they’ve been told.
You don’t want the insurance company at the end of the day accusing you of making something up or saying that a crash occurred or accusing you that a crash actually did not occur. A police officer is able to give an additional report and we think it’s important that anybody contact the police officer. However, something we always get asked is what interaction should they have with the other driver. Sometimes, after a crash, the other driver’s irate and threatening, maybe borderline hostile or violent. In those situations, we tell people, stay in your car. Keep it closed and locked if you can and call the authorities.
In other instances, people are just trying to do the right thing and, most of the time, people want to do the right thing. So, we tell them, exchange insurance information. If you can take a picture of their insurance card, do that. Share your insurance information as well and share names and phone numbers. At the end of the day, both of you want to make sure the situation gets handled appropriately and normally people aren’t trying to hide the ball. Now, if the other driver has something to hide, they don’t have a driver’s license, they’ve been drinking, they were texting on their phone or maybe they don’t have insurance at all, you might find it difficult to get information from them.
I always tell people it’s important to try to get that information from them. If they won’t give you that information, take down their license plate. Take down whatever information you can take down. That way, if they drive off or take off or in the wind later, you have some information that you can fall back on, identifying who was involved in that crash. The most important thing we tell people is use your best judgment. If somebody wants to try to help you work through things and they’re being nice and friendly, then share information because you both want to get the same thing. You both want things taken care of and you both have car insurance for a reason.
If for some other reason, such as hostility, the other person in the car crash is difficult or scary, then stay in your car and let the authorities handle it.
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