It’s winter in Ohio, so it’s an appropriate time of the year to discuss what to do in the case of an accident. Whether due to slick streets, distracted driving or a myriad of other reasons, the unfortunate truth is that most of us will be involved in at least one car accident in our lifetime.

In 2018, there were more than 65,000 car accidents in Ohio alone. If you are unlucky enough to become a tally in this year’s statistics from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there are a few things you should know.

5 things you should never do

While some may consider the following actions merely inadvisable, the consequences could be more severe than you think, potentially including traffic violations, a misdemeanor or a personal injury lawsuit. So here’s what NOT to doMotor :

  • Don’t flee the scene. You must report every accident to law enforcement, no matter how minor. Even if all parties claim to be uninjured, it is vital that you stay and make certain everyone is alright, exchange information and report the incident. Failing to do so is technically a crime, commonly called a hit-and-run. This is a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio—and know that the penalties escalate when injury or death results from a crash. Bottom line, leaving the scene is not a good idea.
  • Don’t decide to “be friendly” and not call the police. ALWAYS call 911 after an accident. You need to file a detailed report as proof of what happened. You need to have proof in case the other driver exchanges false or expired insurance information with you. There are many uninsured drivers on the road, which could result in a failure to pay for the damages you or your car has sustained. Also, what if the other person has an invalid license or other legal trouble? It’s better to act when it seems unnecessary than to find out it was necessary later—and find it’s too late.
  • Don’t get mad. Although your adrenaline may be pumping and you may be feeling scared or angry, remain calm—especially while talking to the other driver. It won’t do any good to yell at them over what’s already happened. Instead, focus on getting the information you need. Personal Injury Mot
  • Don’t say it was your fault. Even if an accident was due to your error, never admit that to the other driver or to the police. Claiming blame could make you vulnerable to a lawsuit later, which is obviously not desirable.
  • Don’t forget the details. When you make your report to the police, go the extra mile. Take pictures of the scene. Write down everything from insurance information to the make, model and color of the other person’s vehicle. If this accident results in legal action, a detailed and accurate account is critical. What street were you on? What direction were you going? Ask for the name and phone number of any witnesses. Document the incident thoroughly for your own protection.
  • Don’t fail to follow up. Often, an accident necessitates considerable follow up actions. You should see a doctor to make sure that there are no underlying injuries. You may need to speak to a lawyer if you wish to file a personal injury suit to recover medical expenses or if the other driver brings a lawsuit against you. It is very important, no matter the size of the damages, to file your insurance claim in a timely manner. Make sure you are covering your bases and taking care of yourself.

Knowing what not to do in the event of an accident is vital. Follow this advice to ensure that your accident experience is as minor as possible. You will be doing yourself a favor and doing your part to minimize the negative impact on all involved.