After an accident, it is difficult to know what to do, let alone process what has just happened–especially if you have been injured. Questions will be asked and due to the stress, fear, and shock, it may be difficult to find the right words. While you want to be as helpful as you can, it is essential to know what to say and what NOT to say after the accident.
Since the outcome of a case can be determined by who is at fault and who is not, it is important to recognize that statements made at the scene of the accident can assign your role: victim or perpetrator. To insurance companies, your injuries matter less than making you go away. If you are assigned as liable for the accident, you will not receive compensation.
A good rule of thumb after an accident occurs is to say as little as possible. Be sure to trade insurance information, check on the safety of the other driver and passengers, and comply with police when they arrive. However, before providing additional information to the other party involved, consult with a lawyer.
When dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, avoid the phrases below, as they can hurt your claim and hinder your right to compensation for your injuries, even if the accident was not your fault.
‘It’s my fault!’
In situations such as this, you may feel pressure to accept ownership. In fact, one of the most common mistakes in car accidents is unintentionally giving an admission to fault. Even if you think that the accident is your fault, you should avoid admitting that at the accident, as it can be detrimental to your case and will impact any compensation that you can receive.
This phrase may be the most difficult to keep down, as it naturally slips out. Any apology said at the scene of the accident can be taken as an admission to fault. Even an apology to someone not directly involved, like apologizing about the traffic created by the accident, can be an admission to fault. The best thing you can do for your claim, is to avoid saying sorry at all.
Often after a crash, if you are not bleeding or have not sustained obvious injuries, you may be tempted to let everyone on the scene know that you are perfectly fine. However, you may not notice your injuries right away due to shock and adrenaline, which can mask pain and aches. Avoid giving statements about your well-being, as injuries can take time to reveal themselves. While it is okay to insist that you do not need urgent care, it is best to avoid blanket statements about being ‘fine’ or ‘okay’ as those statements can be used against you later if a legal situation develops.
After an accident, you may receive an offer from the opposite party to settle the situation and may even be offered compensation on the spot. Although it may be tempting to get everything taken care of immediately, you should not The injuries and damages may take time reveal themselves and quite often, the initial offer, does not cover even half the damages. By accepting the offer, you will not be able to receive compensation to cover the full extent of your injuries at a later time. It is best to seek treatment and refrain from settling until you know the full extent of the injuries, treatment, and damages.
‘I think that…’
Do not speculate or provide inaccurate information, as later when the information is proved false, it can be used to portray you at fault for the accident. If you are asked about the cause of the crash and do not know the answer, do not speculate or provide a statement without concrete evidence, as it will be used against you.
Avoiding these five phrases will help your case later on. Keep in mind that even after avoiding these phrases, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney after your accident. They will let you know what your next steps are and will even take over so that you can focus on your recovery.
If you have any questions about legal representation for your personal injury, please contact Utah Legal Team at . Our attorneys would love to speak with you!