You see it just before it happens…the car in front of you is too close and there is no time to stop…the sound of crunching metal EXPLODES, and you close your eyes as the airbag deploys. You’ve just been in a car accident!
You throw open the door and rush to the driver of the other car…
“Oh my gosh, I am so sorry!”
You may not even know who was really at fault because it happened so fast, but apologizing may simply feel like the right thing to do, and if you are courteous, caring person, then you may feel an apology is warranted. In the case of auto accidents, however, it is not recommended.
While simply apologizing will not establish true liability in the case of an auto accident, it CAN be a factor in some cases. For instance, if the circumstances of the accident are ambiguous and it is not clear who is at fault, then one party apologizing to the other CAN make a difference in how an insurance company (or a court system) leans in paying the claim or awarding restitution. Instead of apologizing, here is a list of things you can say and/or do following a car accident you were involved in:
- Asking “are you alright?” or “do you need assistance?” is perfectly acceptable and if there is anything you can do safely, which will help any person involved, go ahead and do it.
- Call the authorities immediately following the accident. This could include medical, police, or fire depending on the severity of the incident.
- Make sure to provide all your information (driver’s license number, insurance information, phone number) to the other party and any first responders on the scene. Make sure to get the other driver’s info as well.
- Once the dust has settled and it is safe to do so, call your insurance company to report the facts of the accident. Again, the stressed word here is FACTS, do not admit fault to any parties, just simply state what happened as you recollect the incident.
- After the accident, make sure to keep good records of anything related to the accident. This could include car repair estimates or bills, rental car receipts, and medical bills in the case you were injured.
While you may not think it necessary, it can oftentimes be a wise idea to secure the services of a qualified legal team who has experience in dealing with the type of accident you had. The law firm can help walk you through the process and ensure the best possible outcome for you following the accident. This can be especially helpful if you are indeed fount to be at fault. (whether you admitted it, or not.)