Immediately following a car accident, you are likely to be mentally and emotionally shaken, possibly injured, and confused. Remaining calm and using good judgment when communicating with other parties on the scene is important to ensuring that you are treated fairly in the insurance claim process. It might be tempting or seem appropriate to apologize or explain your opinion of what happened to cause the accident, but an insurance company might actually hold your words against you later.
Allow yourself adequate time after the accident to evaluate what happened before making any big statements. Here are some examples of what not tosay after a car accident.
Things You Should Not Say after a Car Accident
- “I didn’t see you.” This is an often-cited example of what not to say after a car accident, and for good reason. This is a statement that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt and could affect the outcome of your insurance claim. There could be a very good reason why you didn’t see the other car involved in the collision, such as if that driver ran a stop sign or red light. Be sure that event is the focus of any future conversations, not the fact that you didn’t see the other driver. The insurer might argue you weren’t paying attention.
- “I’m sorry.” This might seem like an appropriate thing to say, especially if someone is injured, but no matter what you mean by those two words, they can become evidence that you were at fault for the car accident. Choose your words carefully and do not allow yourself to apologize for an incident you did not cause.
- “I think the accident was caused by…” Do not offer interpretations of the situation or opinions on possible scenarios. Not only could you be wrong, but your words could later be twisted by someone trying to get out of paying for your damages. If you must answer questions about the traffic accident to a police officer, always cooperate but keep your responses simple and short. State factual information only and allow the officer to do his or her job.
Don’t Accept Any Deals at the Scene
In addition to knowing what not to say after a car accident, make sure you don’t accept any on-the-spot settlements. In minor traffic accidents, especially when police do not arrive on the scene, it is possible for the other driver to propose a deal to avoid reporting the incident to his or her insurance company.
It might be tempting to accept quick monetary compensation at the moment, especially if you feel that you are not injured and your vehicle sustained minimal damage. However, consider the possibility of hidden damage to your vehicle. In addition, the adrenaline that flows through your body after a crash can mask pain, leaving you to discover later that your injuries are more serious than you initially believed.
Also refrain from offering the other driver your own version of a deal. You might decide in the heat of the moment that you don’t want to report the accident and offer the other party your own monetary settlement. This is a risky venture because the other driver could later deny receipt of your payment. He or she could then file a claim anyway—costing you additional money.
Don’t assume that you are dealing with a trustworthy person at the scene of the accident. No matter how minor the consequences of the collision may appear immediately after it happens, allow time to discover any hidden damage or latent injuries before agreeing to any settlements.
Call Rob Levine, the Heavy Hitter ®, for Help!
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, you may be overwhelmed with the consequences of that accident. Remembering what not to say after a car accident extends to knowing what not to say to an insurance adjuster. A lawyer can help you deal with the insurance company and any other aspects of your case. Rob Levine and Associates can help – call 1-800-LAW-1222.