Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is an overwhelming and chaotic experience. 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 even if it was not your fault.
But as our team at the Stewart Law Firm knows, this simple gesture can actually jeopardize your chances at obtaining fair compensation for any injuries and property damage you sustained.
Here are some reasons why you should refrain from apologizing after being involved in a car accident:
- Your apology will be seen as admission of fault: Apologizing at the scene of the accident creates a record of that apology, which the insurance company will see. Their job is to keep you from obtaining the compensation you deserve, so you can expect them to use your apology against you as evidence of your culpability. While this might not be enough to completely deny you of compensation, it could be enough to reduce it.
- Focus on the important things: Instead of saying that you are sorry, ask everyone if they are okay and call for emergency medical assistance if necessary. You can also take the time to exchange information, such as driver’s licenses, license plate numbers, insurance information, and phone numbers.
- You do not have all the facts: Even if you believe you were at fault for the accident, there is no reason to rush into accepting responsibility when you still do not have all the facts. Let law enforcement and your personal injury attorney do their jobs and fully investigate the accident before jumping to conclusions.
- Speaking to the insurance company: The at-fault party’s insurance company is sure to call you after the accident in an attempt to make you take the blame for the accident. Again, do not offer any admission or fault or any type of apology that might risk your chance of receiving compensation. You can also ask your personal injury attorney to handle speaking with the insurance adjuster to ensure no mistakes are made.
I apologized at the scene. What do I do now?
So you got in an accident and immediately ran out to see if the other person was okay. They complain that they have a sore neck, but nothing much beyond that.
You feel bad that this whole thing happened, even though it wasn’t your fault, and you’re searching for something polite to say, so you blurt out, “I am so sorry about this!”
So what now?
First of all, don’t panic. Just because you said the words “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean you waved a magic wand and now you owe the other driver $100,000. Often juries will not take your apology as an admission of fault if you were just expressing concern for the other driver.
However, you will need to be extra careful now in everything that you say. While exchanging information, make sure to only say as much as you need to. When you’re done with that, go back and sit in your car if it’s safe to do so.
Next, document the scene. Write down everything that happened. Take pictures of both vehicles and the environment around you. And when the police arrive, make sure they hear your side of the story in your police report.
Finally, make sure you contact a lawyer with experience in car accidents and personal injury cases.
Car Accident Attorneys in Austin, Texas
If you were recently injured in a car accident, you will need an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney on your side. At The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC, our Austin legal team has the resources and skills to help you obtain the fair compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering, and financial losses.
Our firm is backed by decades of collective experience, which we will diligently put to work for you. If we cannot win your case, you will not owe us any legal fees.
Contact our office today at (512) 271-5112 to schedule a free, no-risk consultation. We are available 24/7 to take your call.