What To Say and Not To Say After You've Been in an Accident
You have to be careful of what you say after a car accident. Anything you say to the other party, the police, or your insurance company can be used against you in a car accident case.
What You Should Say
Your immediate reaction will likely be to show concern or distress about what happened. Try to keep a level head and take the necessary steps following the accident.
Ask if anyone has called the police
Don’t be tempted to skip this step. You will need to call the authorities to get an accident report. This also starts the investigation early.
See if anyone needs immediate medical attention
If anyone is showing immediate signs of injury, it is important to get them to a doctor or call an ambulance as soon as possible.
Get the other driver’s information
The information you should take down includes:
- Driver’s name and license information
- Passenger or passengers’ names
- The car’s license plate number
- Vehicle make and model
- Insurance information
Having this information will help the insurance and legal investigations.
What You Shouldn’t Say
This may feel counterintuitive to you. A lot of people struggle with saying sorry too often! You may want to immediately apologize after an accident, but don’t.
Apologizing shows you accept a level of guilt, even if the accident was not your fault at all.
If you are looking to comfort the others involved in the accident, ask if they are okay rather than apologizing. This shows genuine care, without accepting blame.
Don’t accept fault
Even if you feel you had some fault in the accident, do not say so. You do not have to admit any wrongdoing. It is up to the police, insurance agencies, and others to figure out who is liable.
Stick to the facts
When describing the accident to others, keep your personal feelings out of it. Simply describe the accident exactly as it occurred without any personal commentary.
Saying less is more.
Along with focusing on the facts, it is important not to make any assumptions or “I think” statements. If officers or insurance agents ask you questions you don’t know the answers to, it’s better to say you don’t know rather than providing potentially false information.
Don’t say you aren’t hurt
Even if you aren’t feeling any pain in the moment, it doesn’t mean you don’t have injuries lingering. Some injuries take longer to manifest, like bruising or any internal injuries. If you later choose to seek compensation for any medical damages, the fact that you unknowingly said you were okay at the scene of the accident can hurt your case.
Stay off social media
Once something is online, it’s there forever. Avoid posting anything about the accident or your injuries online. Anything you post can be brought up in your case.
Tips For Staying Calm After An Accident
Now that we’ve covered what you should and should not say after a car accident, let’s talk about some ways to remain calm after a stressful situation.
Take a second to feel your breath going in and out of your lungs. With anxiety, many people get tight chest pain that makes them feel as if they aren’t breathing. Spend a minute taking some deep breaths to center yourself before getting into the details of the accident.
Don’t let your mind wander to anything beyond what is currently happening. Don’t panic about how late you’ll be to your destination, unseen injuries, or how much repairs may cost. Just focus on the first step: communicating what happened.
Contact a lawyer
The insurance claim after the accident can prompt a different kind of stress. A personal injury attorney can lend a hand by helping gather evidence and guiding you through the process of filing a claim or seeking compensation for your damages.