Emotions and adrenaline are always running high right after a car accident. The things you say in the moments, days, and weeks following the crash may come back to haunt you.
You must choose your words carefully at the accident scene and when speaking with insurance agents. Even though you’re stressed, it’s important that you follow the right steps after auto accidents and avoid saying the wrong things.
Phrases to Avoid Saying After Your Car Crash
Commit this list of phrases to memory to avoid saying the wrong thing after a car accident:
Most people say, “I’m sorry,” as a way to be polite. While this courteous phrase may be fine when you’re walking in someone’s way at the supermarket, it can hurt you after a car crash.
You may be sorry that the accident happened, but Texas is a fault-based state. This means that the driver who is at fault for the wreck is liable for the damages to the other driver. So, avoid saying anything that could be construed as an admission of fault and just exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver.
You Came Out of Nowhere
Even when you are fairly certain the other driver was completely to blame, saying something like, “You came out of nowhere,” or “I didn’t see you there” doesn’t shift the blame to the other driver. Instead, it may put your actions under a microscope. You’re essentially stating that you failed to observe an oncoming vehicle, which is akin to admitting fault.
We Can Handle This Without Insurance
While you might not agree to this if you have serious injuries or your vehicle is rendered undriveable, offering to handle the accident without involving insurance is a dangerous move. Many accidents, even fender benders, will likely result in damages over $1,000, which is the threshold for notifying the police about an accident.
You may feel it’s silly to call the police for a small accident when they have much more pressing issues, but skipping this step and trying to leave insurance out of it is a huge mistake. The other driver may offer you cash in hand to drive away, but that amount likely won’t be enough to cover all your vehicle damages.
Also, if you discover you suffered a latent injury from that minor collision, you will be stuck with the medical bills. Notifying the insurance company is a requirement of your contract, even if you didn’t cause the accident. Not doing so will compromise your right to pursue compensation for the crash. Take a look at our informative article regarding finding affordable car insurance and discover where you can get the best rates for your needs.
I Don’t Need a Doctor; I’m Okay
You may not believe you’re hurt if you don’t see visible wounds and can move your limbs. However, you should get examined by a medical professional to look for hidden injuries such as a traumatic head injury or internal bleeding.
If you do not seek medical attention, you may lose your chance to seek compensation for your injuries. The insurance company might deny your claim, stating that you must have been injured sometime after the accident.
I Think That…
When the police arrive, they will ask you questions about your version of events. Your statements will go in the police report for the incident. If you say, “I think that…” or “I believe that…” then you’re only speculating. Stick with the facts of what you know rather than your opinion.
Yes, I Accept
Soon after the accident, you’ll be on the phone with the other driver’s insurance company. What you say to them could destroy your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve. They are trained to be courteous and pleasant and carry an air of concern for your well-being.
When they call you to discuss the accident, you have the right to refuse to make a statement. Do not agree to make statements or accept any settlement offers without retaining a personal injury attorney. Statements should be made by your attorney and any settlement offer should be carefully reviewed first to make sure it includes all the damages you have incurred.
I Don’t Have an Attorney
You are not required by law to have an attorney represent you after a car accident. Many people work out small claims on their own, but letting the insurance company know you don’t have legal representation is a big mistake. They know that most people don’t know their rights when it comes to personal injuries, and they will take full advantage of that by offering well below what you deserve for your settlement.
A better idea is to let them know you’re considering legal representation without further elaborating. You should then look for a personal injury attorney in your area to get a free initial consultation to find out more about your legal rights.
Do Not Post Anything on Social Media
In an era where everyone posts their most intimate life details online, it may seem harmless to post about your accident and tell everyone about it. You may only think they are small details or that you’re just informing close family and friends about the person who crashed into your car and caused you injuries. What you’re actually doing is jeopardizing your case.
The insurance company will be looking for anything it can use against you. Even if you post photos from a happier time or share funny videos and memes, they could argue that you must be feeling fine and that you’re not as seriously injured as you claim. Keep in mind that they can get this information even if you have your settings private.
What Can You Say After an Accident?
While there are many things to avoid saying, there are certain things that you can safely say after a crash. It is perfectly reasonable to ask the other driver and their passengers if everyone is okay so you can call for medical assistance.
You can and should also ask to exchange contact and insurance information. After that, leave it to your attorney to take care of the rest.