A car accident is a traumatic and frightening experience for anyone. Whether it is simply a fender-bender or a serious crash, you will be shaken at the very least. And, when adrenaline is flowing, you are never in a position to say or do all the right things.
Here are 7 things to avoid saying that will help you in the aftermath of any accident.
I’m sorry for ___________
In our society, it is human nature to say sorry for things regardless of who is at fault. Be careful about what you SAY. Apologizing for any aspect of the accident can be misconstrued or could potentially affect the amount of damages you are entitled to receive.
Admitting fault may be as simple as saying “You came out of nowhere!” This could be interpreted as you were not paying attention. It is not uncommon for the parties involved to be foggy about various details. Even if you think something was your fault, you may not have all the actual facts. You could be admitting fault – falsely. And, depending on the state you are in, it could affect the financial outcome.
Never make assumptions…
Whether it is the police officer, your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, state the facts. Do not embellish or make assumptions about what happened. It is better to say “I don’t know” than to guess. You want your statements to be consistent and correct. What you say on the scene may differ from your official statement once you’ve had time to calm down, reflect and consider more information. However, both versions should contain the same basic account of the facts.
Changing the story…
This is why we advise clients to note the identity of any bystanders who may have witnessed the accident. It is not uncommon for an at-fault party to accept responsibility to you and then change their story when the police arrive or when it is time to make an official statement to their insurance company. The official statement made to either insurance company will be used in all proceedings later. That’s why it is best to seek competent legal advice early in the process.
Are you hurt?
This will be one of the first questions you are asked. You may be inclined to say “no”, but, choose your words carefully. Many accident related types of injuries don’t show up for days or weeks after the incident. If you are not sure, it’s better to say so. Seek medical attention promptly for each and every symptom that may occur following the accident.
Don’t be social
Following an accident where you are injured, refrain from posting about your injuries on social media. Medical related comments could be misinterpreted later.
What not to say to insurance companies
Don’t tell anyone you don’t have an attorney. If an insurance company asks you, and you don’t yet have an attorney, just tell them you are still considering your legal options for representation.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will almost always want to dispose of the case as quickly as possible. They may contact you with an offer. If you don’t intend to hire an attorney, you should be aware that the initial offer is almost always the bare minimum (or less) than what your case is really worth. It may be wise to consider their offer for a while or seek advice before you make a commitment.
Know what your case is worth before you talk
Consult with an attorney that offers a free consultation (like our firm) before you accept any offer. Tell the attorney all the facts. Even if you don’t end up hiring an attorney, this free advice will give you important insight about the value of your claim.
The Law Offices of Michael A. Freedman, PA are the specialists in car accident cases in Maryland. A firm that leads the way with aggressive representation if you’ve been injured in a car accident.