After a car accident, victims would often feel overwhelmed and confused about what to do next. The most important thing is to find a safe place and check your injuries. Another thing you must do after a car accident is talking to the other party as calmly as you can.
Unfortunately, there are some cases where victims would say the wrong things that can affect their claim in the long run. You may be distressed, shaken, or in shock after an incident. It can be difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions. That’s why it’s critical to plan ahead of time what to do (and what not to do) in the aftermath of a car accident.
Here are five things you absolutely need to avoid saying not to jeopardize your claim.
“I’m not Hurt.”
Often, accidents can set a person’s body to overdrive. They may feel a sudden adrenaline rush which can increase their pain tolerance at the moment. However, just because you didn’t feel any pain after the accident, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t sustain any injuries.
If you’re asked about your injuries, don’t say you’re fine or haven’t had any until a doctor has examined you. Some injuries may not be obvious right away, and adrenaline may prevent you from feeling them at all. Saying “I’m not hurt” may cause the other party to assume that you didn’t sustain any injuries and you won’t need to spend money on medical care. If your symptoms are delayed, this will put you at a huge disadvantage as the other party may hold your statement against you.
It’s not unusual for the at-fault party to offer victims a deal to settle the matter. Some people don’t want to go to court anymore and are desperate to settle everything instead of going through the legal process.
However, regardless of how high the amount they offer, it’s still not a good idea to accept their deal. Chances are, your claim is probably worth a lot more than they are offering you.
Saying “I accept” without consulting a lawyer may put you at risk of losing the right to seek compensation for your injuries.
“It’s my fault.”
Regardless of who you think is at fault in the accident, it’s never a good idea to outright admit that you are at fault. It’s best to wait for the result of the official investigation to see who is actually at fault in an accident.
Accident victims are frequently unaware of the full scope of the incident until after it has occurred. You may be unwittingly admitting fault without even realizing it. You should also avoid making any admissions of fault because making such statements can result in a traffic ticket and have an adverse effect on your claim.
Accusations of fault include statements such as “I didn’t notice you” or “you appeared out of nowhere.” If you were distracted from the road, failed to see traffic signs, or did anything else that could be construed as negligence, do not admit that you were at fault.
It does not matter if you are simply being courteous and are not attempting to admit fault. These types of words and phrases will be used against you in court.
“I can handle my bills.”
Never say you will settle the bill or pay for the damages involved immediately after an accident. The other party may assume that you won’t file a personal injury claim anymore, affecting the results of your claim. Even if you are saying it out of “kindness,” it’s never a good idea to tell the other party that you can pay for your bills. Personal injury claims are designed to protect you from unreasonably expensive expenses caused by the accident.
Without the help of a personal injury claim, you will be faced with expensive medical bills and possibly lost wages as you recover from your injuries.
Check that you have all of the facts and details about the accident correct. Inquire about insurance coverage for the damaged vehicles. Consult with a good auto accident lawyer before attempting to pay for additional damages.
Even if the accident was not your fault, it is easy to feel sorry for the other drivers. Their car may have been totaled, and they may have been injured – and you may be tempted to comfort them by saying, “I’m sorry.”
DON’T! A simple “I’m sorry” can demonstrate that you admitted guilt and responsibility for the accident. Even if you mean “I’m sorry you’re late for work” or “I’m sorry you’re hurt,” try to avoid saying “I’m sorry.” When bystanders and eyewitnesses hear you say that phrase, they may believe you are the one who caused the accident.
If a legal situation arises, later on, admitting guilt can be a serious matter. Even if you honestly believe that the accident was your fault at the time, you should avoid admitting guilt at the scene of the crime.
It’s best to consult experienced auto accident lawyers after a car accident.