What Not to Say After Experiencing a Car Accident
You did not cause the car accident; ergo you should not have to suffer the consequences for it. However, depending on what you say to responding officers and insurance personnel, you could undermine your lawsuit’s chances of success. You must watch what you say because your words can become evidence that the defense uses against you in court.
To avoid this problem, make sure you do not say any of the phrases below or anything like them.
- “It Was My Fault”
Even if you think you caused the accident initially, or if you think your actions contributed to the accident, you must not say so to anyone right after the accident. You do not know all the factors that caused the crash, and a premature admission of fault could land you in more hot water than you deserve. Talk to your lawyer before you discuss fault with anyone else.
- “I Am Sorry”
When you apologize for the accident, you might as well admit fault. The other driver, the responding officers, and any witnesses might hear you apologize and assume that you caused the accident even when you did not. Even if you feel bad that the other person has suffered injuries or damaged his or her car, do not apologize or say sorry for anything that has happened.
- “I Am Not Injured”
After an accident occurs, your body goes into shock, so you may not notice your injuries right away. You might not notice them for hours, days, or even weeks after the accident happens.
Because of this long time frame, you must not say that you are not injured at the accident scene. If you notice injuries after that admission, you might have trouble proving that your physical problems occurred as a result of the crash.
- “These Are My Injuries”
Again, even if you see injuries, you should not diagnose them yourself, no matter who you talk to. If anyone asks you what your injuries are, tell that person you do not know. You can tell someone if you have injuries, and you can describe symptoms, but you cannot say what you think is wrong with you.
If you state that you have specific injuries and but later receive no treatment for them, then your doctor’s notes could conflict with witness statements and complicate your lawsuit.
- “I Talked to My Friends or Family Members”
If you tell anyone who you talked to after the accident, then the authorities and insurance agents will go after those people to corroborate your story. You and your lawyer need to be the first ones who interview you, your friends, and your family members. After all, if the authorities talk to your loved ones right away, your loved ones might have misunderstood what you told them and tell the police something unhelpful.
- “I Think This Happened”
You must only state the facts after an accident. State what you saw, what you heard, and what you felt. Do not guess about anything that occurred because those guesses could be used against you later. If you do not know definitively what happened, then tell the people around you that you do not know. The police’s assessment of the situation will fill any gaps.
- “This Is My Official Statement”
You should never submit an official statement without talking to a lawyer first. In fact, you should have your lawyer help you draft and submit your official statement to your insurers and other authorities.
- “I Accept This Settlement”
Do not accept any settlements or other offers at this stage. You likely do not know how much compensation you deserve yet, and you will not know until after you talk to your lawyer. Do not discuss settlements until you have spoken to legal counsel.
Avoid saying the phrases above after an accident, and remember not to post anything about the accident on social media either. For more advice on how to handle your personal injury case, contact your lawyer. He or she can give you other tips that push your lawsuit closer to success.