Keep It Zipped: What Not to Say at the Car Accident Scene (Or After)
Each year up to 50 million people are injured or permanently disabled after being involved in a car accident. Due to the prevalence of these accidents, it’s highly likely you may be involved in one at some point in your life.
If this happens, and you find yourself in this situation, there are certain things you should not do and should not say. In fact, saying or doing the wrong thing can cost you quite a bit in these situations.
There’s no question that things are likely going to be chaotic at the car accident scene, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose your cool. Use the tips and information here to ensure you don’t make any potentially costly mistakes after being involved in an accident.
Never Say You’re Sorry
After a car accident, you should eliminate the word “sorry” from your vocabulary. The fact is, the simple act of telling someone you are sorry could be taken as an admission of your guilt and used against you down the road.
While it may be a tough habit to break, it’s important you avoid it at all costs at the scene of an accident.
Even saying that your sorry to someone who wasn’t involved in the accident can be misconstrued. For example, if someone stops to help, and then say they may be late for work, your reaction may be to say you are sorry.
Someone nearby may think you are saying you are sorry for the accident, and therefore at fault. The best course of action is just to avoid saying it at all.
That the Accident Was Your Fault
In addition to not saying that you are sorry, you also need to avoid admitting fault for the accident. When describing the accident, do it in a straightforward manner without adding any type of personal thoughts into the mix.
This allows the insurance companies to work it out and determine who was at fault. There could be other factors involved that you may not know about, too.
Even if the other driver is blaming you for the accident, don’t accept the blame. You can learn more about the accident and why it may be their fault simply by listening to what they are saying and not responding.
If the situation does show you are at fault, the other driver may have played a role in the accident too. The bottom line is that you should avoid claiming fault in front of the other driver, your insurance company, or law enforcement.
That You Aren’t Injured
Don’t say anything that you aren’t completely sure is true. While there are some injuries you will see and feel right away, others may take hours or even days to show signs.
Right after an accident, you may not know you are suffering a brain injury or internal bleeding. Bruises and other signs of an injury may also take time to show up.
Injuries to your back and neck can take days to appear. If you feel any pain, it’s a good idea to see a doctor right away. Also, don’t sign any type of medical release form from your insurance company until you have talked to an attorney.
The Names of Others
Be sure that you stick to the basics when you are dealing with your own insurance company. Don’t give them the names of doctors, friends, or family members.
If you ever go to court or face any litigation related to the accident, you may be required to produce information about anything you told to these people, as well as their contact information.
Don’t Say “You Think”
It’s better to say that you don’t know the answer to something than to say that “you think” you know something. Don’t estimate the answer, either.
This can apply to anything related to your accident, including the speed you were traveling, distance assumptions and other estimates.
It’s best to say you don’t know, before answering a question by guessing.
Giving Your Official Statement
You should avoid giving your official statement (this is the one that is recorded) until you are advised by a personal injury lawyer. Also, you are under no obligation to have the statement you make recorded.
There are many cases where someone has given a statement, and then the information they provide is manipulated or misconstrued by the insurance company. Don’t let this happen by avoiding giving any type of official statement.
What Can You Safely Say to the Others?
Right after the accident, you need to ask the passengers in your vehicle if they are okay. You should also check and see if the driver and passengers in the other vehicle are okay.
At this point, it doesn’t matter who was at fault, you need to find out if anyone is hurt. If someone else was the cause of the accident, you may feel angry and want to yell, but the scene of the accident is no place for this.
Remain calm and ensure everyone involved is okay and call for help.
Besides checking for injuries, there isn’t much else to say. You can exchange names and your contact information, but don’t accuse or apologize.
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, you can take pictures and move your vehicle out of the way.
Car Accident Scene Tips: Keep it Zipped!
If you have been in a car accident, the best thing you can do is keep your mouth shut. While it may be tempting to talk at the car accident scene, this is never a good idea and may work against you down the road.
If you have been in an accident, and need a lawyer to help with your situation, then check out our online directory. We can help you find a quality attorney for your case.