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After an Auto Accident

What would you do—no—what should you do—if you pulled out of a parking spot at a shopping mall, stopped, and was then hit by another car?

After an accident, one of the drivers should call 911 for help if anyone is hurt and the police to complete an investigative report. Drivers then should take photos of each other’s insurance cards, driver's licenses, and damages to the vehicles.

I recently had this type of accident, but I didn’t do all the necessary follow-up.

The other driver was visibly shaken but unhurt, and neither was I. She apologized for hitting me. I asked her name and how old she was. She was 21.

She asked if we could skip calling the police. She added that she was in a hurry, which is why she hit me. She didn't see my car when she backed out of the space across from me.

My car is ten years old but in excellent condition. Damage included scuffs to the bumper and a little at the top right rear of the car.

The other driver had a black, older car that appeared well-used on the outside and a worn driver's seat. I thought it was odd that her side mirror was ripped off and shattered into many little pieces. The impact wasn't that severe. Perhaps the mirror was previously damaged.

I felt bad for the young driver. Replacing her side mirror will be expensive. She kept saying she didn't see me. I responded, “Accidents happen.”

My concern was to pick up the pieces from her mirror, so we didn’t cause a flat tire to our or anyone else’s car, and to calm the young driver. She said we should exchange information. She asked for my phone number, which she put into her phone. I wrongly assumed she texted me her number. I also gave her my business card.

I pulled away wondering why I hadn’t taken photos of her license or car and was disturbed when I realized the other driver hadn't texted me her information.

In the end, all I did was hug her.


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