Should I Say "Sorry" After An Accident?
Accidents tend to be chaotic and incredibly overwhelming and those involved might feel confused, in shock, or scared. With emotions and adrenaline running high, it is easy to say things like, “I’m sorry,” in the aftermath of an accident. While apologizing might seem like the most natural response, however, this simple gesture can have major consequences when the time comes to secure compensation for your personal injury claim.
If you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, the Miami personal injury attorneys at Mitchell & West LLC can effectively protect your rights and help you seek the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys will provide the advice you need and educate you on the mistakes you should avoid to ensure your claim is not jeopardized.
Here are some important things you should know when it comes to the detrimental effects of apologizing after an accident:
- It is an admission of fault: Apologizing after an accident can be perceived as an admission of fault for causing the accident. If you say this to the police officer who is filing the report, it might also create a record of it. For insurance companies, this is the best weapon they can use against you to either reduce or entirely avoid paying the compensation you deserve.
- Evidence showing culpability: Insurance companies are not your friend. If you apologize at the scene of an accident, despite it not being your fault, they will use it to skirt liability away from their policyholders and shove some of the blame onto you. An apology is not enough to say you were entirely to blame, but it can be enough to partially assign blame to you, especially if you expand on your apology by explaining why you are sorry. Saying something like, “Sorry, I didn’t see the light change,” can result in you sharing responsibility for the accident. You should avoid making a statement like this since it will likely harm your chances at recovering damages.
- You do not know all the facts yet: The stress of an accident can sometimes make people question whether or not they were partially at fault. It is partly why so many feel inclined to apologize immediately afterward. The truth is that you do not know all the facts surrounding your accident and cannot say for sure if you contributed to it or not. Instead of derailing your own case, let law enforcement and your personal injury attorney conduct a thorough investigation to determine who is at fault.
- Focus on what is important: Apologizing should not be your top priority after an accident. If you really want to do what is right for both you and others involved, make sure everyone is okay or if they are in need of immediate medical attention. Call the police, regardless if someone needs medical attention or not, because you will also need an officer to fill out a police report. Remember to also collect as much information as possible from the other parties involved, including insurance information, license plates, the make and model of the vehicles involved, addresses, phone numbers, and driver’s license information. You should also remember to take photographs of the scene.
- Talking to the insurance company: The goal of the insurance company is to pay you as little as possible and insurance adjusters often engage in manipulative tactics to accomplish this. An insurance adjuster will likely reach out to you after the accident and possibly ask for a statement. You are not obligated to provide this. In fact, if you have legal representation, your attorney can speak on your behalf. Whatever you do, never say you are sorry while speaking to the insurance adjuster.
Miami Car Accident Attorneys
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, particularly if you sustain severe injuries that require you to miss work. You might face steep medical bills, lost wages, or possibly the loss of the ability to return to work. Suffering in silence should not be an option. At Mitchell & West LLC, our skilled personal injury attorneys can handle your claim and work toward recovering the maximum compensation you need now and in the future. When you need a skilled legal advocate at your side to stand up to negligent parties and unscrupulous insurers, we will fight for you.
Get started today and contact our office at (305) 783-3301 to schedule a consultation with a trusted member of our legal team.