In all mayhem that follows a car accident, some drivers rush to apologize to those involved or try to explain what happened. This may be a natural emotional reaction, but it can cause legal problems. Admitting fault or doing anything that can be interpreted as such can cause you to get reduced compensation or none at all. Any car accident attorney, including those at Derrick Law Firm, will tell you it is best not to say anything without speaking to an attorney first. You will need to give a statement to police, but you shouldn’t speak to the other driver’s insurance company without seeking legal advice.
That’s just a quick overview. Let’s go into detail about some of the things you should not do after you’ve been involved in a car accident.
You should not accept blame at the scene.
You may be emotional after your car accident. You may be certain the crash was your fault. However, you shouldn’t admit guilt to the other driver or witnesses. Investigations may later show that the other driver was at least partly responsible. If the case goes to court, witnesses may testify that you admitted fault at the scene. You can see how this could create problems. It’s best not to say too much. Simply give the responding officer the facts and let them investigate.
You should not offer to pay or accept payment for anything.
You may be inclined to immediately offer to pay an injured party’s medical bills or fix the damage to their vehicle. This is often the case if you believe you were in the wrong. On the other hand, if you were the victim and your injuries appear minor, you may be tempted to accept a cash offer. Both of these decisions can be risky. You should not offer or accept payment without speaking to a car accident attorney. Offering to compensate an injured party may be seen as an admission of guilt. It could be used against you later. Accepting compensation for minor injuries will leave you high and dry if your injuries later turn out to be much worse.
You should not sign any statements offered by the other driver’s insurance company.
Soon after the accident, an insurance adjuster may call or visit you and encourage you to sign a settlement offer. They will tell you that this is in your best interest. However, you should remember that insurance companies are only concerned with their bottom-line. They want to spend the least amount possible. Do not agree to anything without consulting an attorney.
Emotions can run high after a car accident. No one wants to be involved in one but you need to prepare. If you know how your words can get you into trouble, you will think carefully about what to say. You may be confused, hurt and scared following a crash. Be sure to stay on the scene, call the emergency services and contact a car accident attorney. A legal professional can advise you on how to proceed.