We all like to think we’ll drive safely down the open road with no incident. And yet, car accidents are far more common than we’d like to think. The average person will get into a total of at least four accidents over the course of their lifetime.
These accidents can be chaotic. Following an incident, you may be frazzled, shaken up, or in shock. It can be hard to think straight and make solid logic-based decisions. That’s why it’s essential that you know ahead of time what to do or say (and what NOT to do or say) following an auto accident.
Saying the wrong thing to another driver or witness can put your future in serious danger. It can jeopardize your right to damages or support that is rightfully yours. The last thing you want to do following an accident is to ruin your legal chances. Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
In This Case, Words Can Hurt You
You know the saying sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me? In this case, words can very much hurt you. In an auto accident case, the role of the victim and perpetrator is determined by who is at fault and who is not.
When it comes to deciding these roles, statements made by the drivers to one another or to witnesses can be one of the biggest forms of evidence.
Because of this, it’s advisable to say as little as possible following an accident. It is, of course, important to trade information and check in on the other driver. But you should always speak with an attorney before providing the other driver with any information.
It can be hard to bite your tongue on certain statements, but it’s essential to remain quiet. Doing otherwise can risk your odds of success in a court of law.
Common Statements That You Should Avoid
Following an accident, it’s easy to have a few choice phrases slip from our mouths to another driver. But such statements can be seriously damaging to your future case. This is easily demonstrated through a few examples.
1. ‘I’m Sorry’
One of the most common things drivers do following an accident is to apologize. It’s natural if you’ve been taught a sense of manners in your life, for a quick ‘I’m sorry’ to slip out. This statement can easily be taken out of context though. Another driver may take this as an admission of guilty even if you didn’t mean it as such.
An admission of guilt can be a serious matter if a legal situation involves later on. Even if you truly believe at the time that the accident is your fault, you should avoid admitting guilt at the scene of the crime.
More often than not, drivers who think they’re at fault later find out that they were not. There are details and circumstances that you might not be aware of from your position in the crash. Even if you physically hit another vehicle, you don’t know if it’s because that driver has run through a red light, or didn’t have their headlights on, or so forth.
When discussing the accident at the scene, stick to the facts and avoid suggesting fault. It can be hard to fight off the impulse to apologize, but it can be important to do.
2. ‘I’m Not Hurt’
An auto accident can set your body into overdrive. The shock of the accident shoots adrenaline through your system. This adrenaline often masks any sort of pains, injuries, or aches that you might have developed as a result of the accident.
Despite this, drivers frequently assure one another that they’re not hurt. It’s okay to indicate that you don’t need emergency services called, but it’s a smart idea to avoid saying that you aren’t hurt.
For one, you very well might be. Injuries sustained in an accident can take hours or sometimes even days to reveal themselves. Even if you feel perfectly fine following an accident, it’s best to visit a doctor or emergency health professional before making any sort of final statement on your well-being.
3. ‘I Accept’
The other driver you get into an accident with might be eager to settle the matter. They may have a variety of reasons to want to keep the accident away from the courts and insurance companies.
They may even offer you money or some form of payment on the spot. It’s absolutely essential that you do not accept such an offer. It can be tempting to take such a deal, especially if you and your vehicle seem fine. But you have no idea what injuries or damages can reveal themselves later on.
Taking any kind of deal or settlement will prevent you from being able to sue for damages at a later time. Until you have a full picture of the accident, you should avoid making any kind of settlement deal. You should always talk to an attorney and evaluate the potential value of your case before accepting any kind of money.
What Not To Say After An Auto Accident
An auto accident can be quite shocking and scary. In the moments following an accident, it can be easy to get flustered and say something you didn’t mean to. The above statement is a few common phrases that you should avoid saying after an accident. Avoiding these statements can help secure your legal options later on.
Been in an accident need to evaluate your case? Contact us anytime for assistance.