If you are ever involved in a motor vehicle accident, the experience can be overwhelming and chaotic. You might feel shaken, frustrated, and completely disoriented, and, in the heat of the moment, it might feel completely natural to apologize for the accident.
Why You Should Not Say Sorry At the Scene
Apologizing could directly undermine your ability to seek fair compensation for any injuries and property damage you sustained. Here’s why:
1. You Will Be Denying Your Culpability
Apologizing at the scene of an accident makes it look like you’re admitting fault, which helps the insurance company, who wants to deny you compensation. They will use that evidence to try to reduce your payout.
2. Focus on the Most Important Thing
Instead of apologizing, ask if everyone is okay and call for emergency medical assistance if necessary. Take down driver’s license, license plate numbers, insurance, and phone numbers. Some people choose not to exchange personal information; in that case, just write down everyone’s names and descriptions of their vehicles and license plate numbers.
3. You Are Not a Suspect
The police would not have hauled you in to speak with them if you were a suspect in the accident. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want your statement. Even if you believe you were at fault, there is no reason to blame yourself or accept responsibility until you have all the facts. Your injury attorney will be able to get your statement without you saying something that could hurt your case.
4. Speaking to the Insurance Company
The at-fault party’s insurance company will call you after the accident to make you take the blame for the accident, but you mustn’t offer any admission or apology. Have your injury attorney speak with the insurance adjuster to make no mistakes.
What to Do If You Said Sorry At the Scene
So you got in an accident and immediately ran out to see if the other person was okay. They had some pain in their neck but nothing serious. They say they feel bad that you both got into an accident, even though it was an accident, and are relieved that no one was hurt too badly. You’re searching for something polite to say and blurt out, “I’m so sorry about this!” It comes out so quickly that you have time to regret it.
What are your options now?
First, don’t panic. Just because you said I’m sorry doesn’t mean you waved a magic wand and owe the other driver $100,000. Juries are often willing to overlook an apology if it wasn’t made in a context of admission of fault.
However, you will need to be extra careful now in everything you say. When exchanging information, make sure to say as much as you need to; otherwise, it can be easy to admit that you were at fault if the other driver presses you for more information than you want. If it is safe, return to your car after exchanging information and wait for the other driver to get back in.
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, document what happened. Make sure to take pictures of both vehicles and the environment around you. When the police arrive at the scene, make sure they hear your side of the story by writing a police report.
Then, contact an attorney with experience in car accidents and personal injury cases, so they can advise you on how to proceed legally.
SayingI’m sorryat the scene of a car accident could end up hurting your chances of getting fair compensation for injuries and property damage. This is particularly true if you are the at-fault party. An attorney experienced in this area of the law will be able to give you unimpeachable advice on how to proceed legally.
Harper Law Firm is a personal injury attorney firm in Texas. We’re committed to helping people throughout the state who have been injured in car accidents, 18-wheeler crashes, and other accidents that could have been prevented due to negligence. We always do our best to obtain justice for hard-working Texans who have been injured. So if you’ve been involved in a crash and in need of a car accident lawyer in San Antonio, TX, get in touch with us! Call us at 210-780-3881 today!