Car accidents usually happen quickly without much warning. They can be caused by various reasons including brake failure, other cars, speeding, humans, animals, drunkenness, inanimate objects, etc. and they leave all involved parties shocked and caught off guard. Ultimately, this makes them vulnerable to saying things they would not usually say, or saying things that may inadvertently hurt their personal injury claim down the road.
After an accident, it is important you know the right things to say and not to say so it will not be used against you especially when a court case is involved. Do not blame yourself for the accident, make sure you are medically fit and do not try to explain how the accident happened. Be sure to document all details of the accident and get a police report.
Here are seven things not to say after your car accident:
In the wake of a car accident, the word “sorry” should not be part of your vocabulary—it could be interpreted as admission of guilt and used against you later. Many drivers tend to apologize simply because they feel bad that the accident occurred and empathize with the situation. No matter how you think the accident happened or if you think you caused it, do not apologize to anyone. This includes bystanders, police officers, and others involved in the accident. If you apologize to any at the scene, it could be construed by their insurance company or legal team as an admission of guilt.
Just like saying “I’m sorry” can be interpreted as an admission of guilt, so can saying something like, “I didn’t see you there.” This is a frequent phrase after accidents occur when one driver is turning in or out of an area just before the crash. Saying this at the scene of the accident already sets the presumption that the accident is your fault; you should have seen someone, and you didn’t. In fact, many insurance companies request a recorded statement from you in hopes that you will say you did not see something.
It is common for those involved in an auto accident to be asked to give multiple statements, including statements to your insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company, your car accident lawyers, and the responding law enforcement agency. When it comes to giving statements and accounts of the accident, you are either sure of something, or you are not. If you are not sure about all the details, do not fill in with possibilities or opinions. It is okay to say, “I don’t know” or not to answer all the questions if you really do not have an answer. Just state the facts.
Do not say “I think” when asked to give details, such as how fast your vehicle was traveling or the distance before you stopped. It is much better to say nothing at all. When you speak with your car accident attorneys, you can give them your estimates but avoid sharing them with anyone else.
Some injuries, such as whiplash, neck and back pain or traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are not always obvious right away, so do not assume everything is okay. When involved in an accident, never say “you’re fine”, “you’re okay”, “you’re not hurt”. Make sure you get checked properly by the medical team and also run some tests before you declare yourself as “okay”. Minimizing or denying your injuries after an accident can decrease the value of your claim.
Even if you are not sure you are going to work with a lawyer, it is better to tell the person asking that you are considering your legal options. If your insurance company knows you are not working with a lawyer, they tend to cut your compensation short and take advantage of your lack of experience. Even if you decide not to work with a lawyer, keep that information to yourself.
Insurance companies try to push you to settle as quickly as possible for as little as possible. Do not agree to a settlement until you feel like you’ve gotten what you deserve. We recommend talking to an experienced personal injury or car accident attorney first.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to immediately admit fault after a car accident. Even though you may feel like you made a mistake, there is a good chance the other driver did too. There could also be other contributing factors that you do not know about, such as failing brakes, other faulty parts, hidden traffic signs, negligence, and the list goes on. Check immediately on the well-being of the involved parties of the accident if you can do so but never accept it is your fault.
It can be difficult to figure out what to say and what not to say after a car accident. In order to navigate the details well, talk to an experienced car accident attorney. We can advocate for you with your insurance company and offer sound advice in order to give you what you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, please contact our Personal Injury Attorneys at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away. An experienced attorney can answer your questions, investigate the accident and file your paperwork to ensure that your case is properly prepared and filed within the time limit required by the court.
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