What You Shouldn’t Say After a Car Accident in New York
It’s common knowledge that when you speak to the police, what you say can be used against you. This same principle holds true for the things you say after a car accident.
After a car accident occurs, your words often form part of an official record that is subsequently used during the claim for compensation. Additionally, words you speak even days later can also be used against you.
To ensure you don’t lose out on valuable compensation for your injuries and property damage, it is important to understand what statements you should avoid saying after an accident.
What Not to Say After a Car Accident
Because of this, it’s best to be careful of what you say to the other driver, the police, and anyone else on the scene. You will also want to be mindful of your communications after you leave the accident scene, such as with insurance companies and the DMV.
In any of these cases, try to avoid these types of statements:
Do Not Admit Fault
Whether you were at fault or not, never admit that you caused the wreck. Your words can later be used to assign some or all of the blame to you during the claims process. Additionally, you may mistakenly believe that you were at fault when the other driver was responsible.
Even if you don’t directly admit fault for an accident, the words you say can be taken as an admission of fault. For example, if you start describing or recounting what occurred in your accident, you may inadvertently imply your guilt in the way you recount the crash.
Hence, you should be very careful when speaking to the police, other drivers, and anyone else at the scene.
Never Say Sorry
No matter how polite you are, avoid apologizing after an accident. Even though saying sorry is a way for some people to show that they empathize, saying such words after a car accident can be taken as a sign of guilt.
Instead of apologizing, stick to the facts and the basic information that all drivers exchange after a wreck.
Don’t Say You’re Fine
Injuries are common after car accidents. But sometimes, injuries are not immediately evident. And even if you know you are injured, the extent may not be clear. For this reason, you shouldn’t say that you’re fine after an accident. Instead, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Even after you have been treated, you want to avoid uttering the words “I am fine,” especially to insurance company adjusters who may contact you during the compensation process.
One tactic adjusters use to pay accident victims less money is to get the victim to say that they are fine. If a victim says they are fine, adjusters may argue that the victim’s injuries are not serious, so they should probably get paid less.
Under no circumstances should you lie about anything after a car accident. Lying puts your credibility and your compensation claim on the line. Lying may also open you up to fraud or other criminal charges, depending on the nature of the lie and who you lied to.
For example, if you lie to the insurance company about the seriousness of your injuries, you could be prosecuted for insurance fraud. You can also be charged for filing a false police report if you lie to law enforcement.
Don’t Immediately Say “Yes” to Insurance Companies
Soon after your accident, you may find yourself in communication with the insurance company handling your claim. If there is no doubt that the other driver was at fault, the insurance company may offer you a settlement.
You should know that this settlement offer will likely be far below what your claim is worth. The insurance company hopes you do not understand the full value of the claim and will accept this low offer so it can save money.
Instead, you should meet with an experienced car accident lawyer who can give you a more faithful valuation of your claim and even negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
A Car Accident Attorney Can Guide You
Your words after a car accident can carry significant weight. A skilled car accident lawyer can ensure you say the right ones to secure the compensation you deserve.
If you were in a car accident in New York, the car accident lawyers at Silberstein, Awad, & Miklos are ready to help. Contact our office today for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer who cares.