Even if you do not intend to admit fault, apologizing after a car accident can still negatively impact your potential lawsuit. The opposing party’s insurance company will be looking for anything it can find to undermine your credibility and/or your case as a whole, so even if you were not actually at fault for the accident whatsoever, the insurance company will almost certainly spin the facts and interpret your apology as an admission of fault on your behalf. This will then be used against you during all car accident settlement negotiations and potentially at trial as well if your case goes that far.
Avoid Making Any Apologies
For that reason, our Dallas car accident lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP strongly recommend that you never even hint at apologizing to anyone after a car accident. Especially after a traumatic and possibly life-threatening car accident occurs, it is human nature to say you are sorry to the others involved. While you and almost everyone else may instinctively realize that you only mean that you are sorry that the accident occurred, the insurance company is virtually guaranteed to attempt to use that against you.
How Can an Apology Be Used Against Me?
The insurance company will then spin this as an admission of fault and use that to justify lowball settlement offers, and this will make the job of your Dallas car accident lawyer much more difficult in terms of maximizing your financial recovery for this accident. The minute an accident occurs, the insurance company will begin doing everything possible to minimize its financial payout, so apologizing after the crash plays right into their hands.
In many car accidents, it is somewhat unclear as to who was at fault, and it can turn into a he-said, she-said situation. If you apologize to the other driver, to a police officer at the scene of the accident, or to an insurance adjuster, it becomes much easier to “break the tie” in the other driver’s favor no matter what the actual facts are.
What to Say and What Not to Say
Note that avoiding making any apologies does not mean that you must be a callous jerk at the accident scene. You can still check in with the other driver to make sure everyone is okay, offer to call the police and/or 9-1-1, and exchange insurance and contact information.
However, not only should you not apologize, but do not even communicate anything that could hint at you being partially responsible. Phrases like “I never even saw you” or “I just looked down for a second when I got a text message” can significantly hurt your case as well. Another phrase to avoid is anything along the lines of “I’m fine,” as the other driver’s insurance company will use that against you as well to undermine any of your injury claims.
Keep in mind that even if you genuinely feel fine in the immediate aftermath of the accident, your adrenaline is still running at a high level, so you may not even notice certain injuries until later that day. Additionally, there are a number of common car accident injuries whereby the symptoms do not manifest until several days later, so you really do not even know whether or not you are “fine” in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
You Do Not Have All of the Facts
Another important point is that even if you truly believe that you were the one that caused the accident, you still only know half the story at best. The other driver could have been intoxicated, asleep at the wheel, texting and driving, and so on. Leave it up to the police, insurance adjusters, and your attorney to investigate what actually happened and determine who was at fault.
Handling This Right Can Pay Dividends for You Financially
By monitoring what you say at the scene of the accident, you can greatly boost the value of your case and increase any settlement offers that come your way. And because your case will be stronger, you are less likely to waste time with lowball offers from the insurance company.
What Can an Attorney Do for You?
By entrusting your case to an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can help maximize your financial recovery. The right attorney will fully investigate what happened in your crash, build your case, and work to either negotiate the best settlement possible for you or secure the largest financial award possible from the jury at trial.
Zero Cost Unless You Win
With over 65 years of collective experience representing injury victims, Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP has recovered $100 million on behalf of our clients in settlements and jury verdicts. If you were injured in a car accident, call Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP today to schedule a free consultation. You will never owe us any fees unless you prevail in your case.