7 Things Not to Say After a Car Accident

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7 Things Not to Say After a Car Accident

A car accident can leave you shaken and even confused. This disruptive quality often leads people who have been involved in accidents to speak without thinking or to say things that have a greater impact than they realize.

What you say after an accident, both at the scene and during the claims process, can have a large effect on your settlement. In this blog, we list seven things you should avoid saying while dealing with the aftermath of an accident.

1. "I Accept"

After a car accident where you were not at fault, the other driver's insurance company may contact you with a settlement offer. In almost all cases, this settlement represents the absolute minimum that your claim is worth. The insurance company wants to settle the claim as quickly as possible, but that course of action isn't always in your best interest.

Do not accept the first claim immediately. You may have medical expenses that will come up over the course of your recovery or other unforeseen expenses. Consult with a lawyer to determine a fair settlement.

2. "I Think That . . ."

After an accident, you will be asked to give multiple statements. You may be interviewed by the police, your insurance company, the other driver's insurance company, and your attorney. In all these cases, you should do your best to stick to the facts.

Avoid speculating or approximating your answers. False information may damage your claim or make your account of the events seem inaccurate. If you are unsure about the answer to a question, say, "I don't know," and leave your response at that.

3. "I'm Not Hurt"

Insurance settlements after car accidents are almost entirely based on the injuries sustained in the accident. However, many injuries that are common in collisions don't show up immediately. For example, whiplash, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and other "invisible" injuries could appear days or even weeks after the incident.

Do not minimize your injuries with your words. Seek medical attention as soon as a new symptoms or injury appears. Additionally, avoid discussing your injuries on social media platforms since your online account may conflict with your medical records.

4. "I'm Not Working With a Lawyer"

Even if you decide not to work with an attorney, you shouldn't advertise that fact. If an insurance company asks you directly about your legal representation, provide the name of your attorney or of the firm that's representing you.

If you don't have a lawyer, say that you're considering your representation options. Because most attorneys offer a free consultation before they take your case, you will likely want to visit with an attorney to ensure that you aren't agreeing to an unfair settlement.

5. "I'm Sorry"

In your daily life, you may use little apologies to diffuse tense situations, even when the tension isn't your fault. However, you should always resist the urge to apologize after a car accident.

Apologies are almost always construed as admissions of fault, which can affect your claim and your settlement amount.

6. "That Was My Fault"

In addition to avoiding apologies, you should also steer clear of any explicit admission of fault. Often, the parties involved in an accident do not have a complete image of the incident. You may be falsely admitting fault without even knowing it. You also should avoid admissions of fault because these statements can result in a traffic ticket and affect your claim.

Admissions of fault include saying things like, "I didn't see you" or "you came out of nowhere." Do not admit that you looked away from the road, ignored road signs, or did anything else that could imply that you were at-fault in the accident.

7. "This Is My Official Statement"

As mentioned in section two, you will be asked a lot of questions after a car accident. Driver and witness reports are the primary records taken after an accident, and they can be important to the claims process. However, your official statement is different than your on-the-scene account.

Once you give an official statement to your insurance company or to the other driver's insurance company, that statement will be used in all future proceedings. You may want to prepare your statement with your attorney to ensure nothing is left out.

Navigating the accident recovery process can be difficult and intimidating, especially if you must also heal from injuries or deal with significant property damage. An experienced car accident attorney can simplify the process to ensure that you get the compensation you need to move on. Seek legal representation early in your car accident claims process to avoid other pitfalls that can arise as you pursue a settlement.

When in doubt about whether or not you should say something about your accident, consult with your lawyer or hold your tongue.

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