Your first instinct after a car accident may be to apologize or explain yourself. However, what you say immediately following an accident is very important and could impact any legal case down the road.
There are a few things you should avoid saying after a car accident.
1. Avoid apologizing or admitting fault
Even if you think the accident was your fault, do not apologize or admit guilt at the scene. The other party involved and their insurance company can use statements such as “I am so sorry, this was all my fault,” against you later as an admission of liability.
Apologizing can weaken your case, even if the accident was clearly the other driver’s fault. Let the insurance companies determine who was at fault later. Simply ask the other driver if they are okay and exchange information.
2. Do not speculate about injuries
Avoid making statements about possible injuries like “I think I am hurt” or “My neck feels funny.” Wait to discuss injuries or pain until you receive a thorough examination by a medical professional. Any speculation from you about injuries could undermine the true extent of harm done.
3. Resist discussions about the circumstances
You may want to describe what happened to the police or the other driver. However, it is best to refrain until you review the facts. What you think happened immediately after an accident may be inaccurate once you review all of the evidence after the fact.
According to the NHTSA, police received 6.1 million reports of auto accidents in 2021. Keeping calm and avoiding statements about fault, injuries or circumstances can help strengthen your legal position down the road following a crash.