For many people, it is a natural reaction to apologize after any type of incident involving contact between two people. While it may be a nice gesture when you accidentally bump into someone on the street or step on someone’s foot, it is not the most appropriate thing to do following a car accident. In fact, apologizing after a crash can potentially harm your case and your ability to recover financial compensation for any injuries and damages you suffered. Why? Because saying sorry can be taken as admitting fault, or responsibility, for the accident. This is why our legal team at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP generally recommends that anyone involved in an auto accident avoid saying “I’m sorry.”
Because what you say after a crash can impact your personal injury case, and potentially affect your ability to recover the full compensation you deserve, we’ve devoted this blog to educating local residents about why it is best to avoid apologizing immediately following an auto accident of any degree, even a fender bender.
How Apologizing Could Hurt Your Case
While it may be natural to say “sorry,” it can very well be a mistake when it comes to your personal injury case. Below are a few reasons why:
- By saying “sorry,” you’re unintentionally giving the insurance company permission to view your statement as an admission of fault, or at least contribution, to the accident. Insurance companies will look for any way to make money and avoid paying out a claim. When you say “sorry,” the other party’s insurance company may argue that such an “admission” shields their policyholder from any fault or liability, thus avoiding the need to pay claims for your damages. Rather than apologizing after a crash, make sure medical aid is called (if needed), and collect as much information as you can from all parties and witnesses involved.
- Apologizing can be used against you. Any form of apology or statement that makes it seem as if you are apologizing can be used against you. You should never make these statements to anyone, including other involved parties, witnesses, or law enforcement officers that arrive on the scene to compile a police report. By avoiding apologies, the insurance company will have less “ammo” to use against you when they try to avoid liability.
- Just like apologizing, discussing fault can lead to statements that may be misinterpreted or used against you, even if they turn out to be untrue. Remember, you may not have all the facts surrounding the accident, which makes it impossible for you to know who is truly at fault. It is best to leave investigations to police, insurance adjusters, and the attorney you choose to guide you through the personal injury claims process.
Whether you apologized at the scene of the accident or made statements you wish you hadn’t, don’t wait to bring your case to the attention of an attorney. At Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP, we are here to help you investigate your accident and determine who is at fault, whether your accident involved a car, truck, or motorcycle. Contacting a lawyer from our firm as soon as possible after the crash will help ensure you remain protected against insurance company tactics that include using own words against you.