Whenever you get into an accident, it can be tempting to apologize or even take responsibility when you talk to the other driver or police officers. However, it’s important to realize that what you say at a car accident scene could eventually come back to haunt you.
There are two main reasons why you don’t want to imply you even partially caused the accident — or even say anything that could be misconstrued as taking responsibility:
- You might be wrong: With how fast everything tends to happen in an accident situation, there’s a good chance that you are actually mistaken about what you think happened. You are stressed, potentially in pain and probably not able to think completely clearly. It should be of no surprise to anyone that you cannot piece together exactly what happened in the crash. Therefore, you shouldn’t even try — don’t take responsibility, and don’t dish out any blame, either.
- You might be misunderstood: Any statements you make at an accident site could be misinterpreted. Witnesses might misunderstand what you say. Even a simple “I’m sorry” might be interpreted as you taking responsibility. It’s better to say as little as possible. Focus on making sure everyone is OK, on getting the other driver’s contact information and insurance policy info and on documenting the scene with photos.
The actions you take at an accident scene, including what you say, could have a big impact on your ability to secure compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and damage to property. For further legal guidance, meet with a dedicated personal injury attorney at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh in Bradenton, Florida.