Apologies can be a polite way to express concern when you make a mistake or when something accidental happens. While it may be a natural reaction for many people after knocking something over or bumping into another person, even if it wasn’t necessarily their fault, apologizing should be something you avoid after a car accident, as it can create complications in any personal injury case you choose to pursue.
At Shrager & Sachs, our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers have extensive experience advocating on behalf of victims injured in all types of car accidents. Throughout the years our firm has been serving residents of Pennsylvania and beyond, we have seen victims make various mistakes that jeopardize their rights simply as a result of their unfamiliarity with the personal injury claim process, as well as their lack of knowledge regarding the unsavory tactics of insurance companies. Apologies are among the most common.
Following any type of auto accident, your focus should be on your health and the health of others involved, as well as on gathering as much information as you can. This includes taking pictures of the accident scene and all vehicles involved, as well as the positioning of the vehicles if they are still on the roadway. It’s always best to err on the side of taking too many pictures so you have everything involved in the accident photographed from every position, including close ups and shots from further away. You should also photograph license plates, driver’s licenses, insurance cards, other drivers and passengers involved if you can do so discreetly, and everything possible that provides information about the accident.
When it comes to speaking with any party after your accident, you should always avoid saying “sorry” and apologizing. Here are a few reasons why:
- Another driver may think the crash was your fault – Saying “sorry” or apologizing in any way when speaking with another party involved in your accident, such as another driver, is something that could be used against you. For example, another driver may interpret your apology as your acceptance of fault for causing the wreck, and it could shape the way they discuss the collision with any law enforcement officer who arrives on scene to compile a police report, as well as when they report the crash to their insurance provider.
- You don’t know what caused the accident – Even if you believe you did do something to cause or contribute to an accident, you must remember you do not yet know the full set of circumstances involved. There may be factors you are unaware of that caused the collision, such as a motorist who was texting or using a cell phone at the time. Don’t apologize simply because you think you may have played a role, and instead work with an attorney who can help you explore the underlying cause.
- Insurance companies can use an apology against you – One of the primary reasons to avoid apologizing or saying “sorry” after an accident is that insurance companies will be quick to use it to their advantage. Whether you apologize at the scene or when speaking to an insurance adjuster during a recorded statement (which you should never do without first consulting a lawyer), the insurance company will often attempt to use that as evidence that you caused or contributed to the wreck. This could make for disputes over fault and liability, or a denial of your claim entirely. Remember, insurance companies are driven by profits, and they want to pay victims harmed by their policyholders as little as they possibly can. Apologizing or saying “sorry,” even if you are not at fault, only provides them with ammunition to achieve their goal of paying less.
Being involved in an accident is not something you can expect, but it is an experience you can prepare for. Remember to always focus on your health, gathering the facts, and speaking with an experienced attorney as soon as you can. If you have already been involved in an accident where you did apologize or say something that could potentially be used against you, you still have the ability to create a strong case and protect your rights with the help of a lawyer. At Biren Law Group, we’re available to help you do just that.
To discuss a potential case with a Philadelphia car accident lawyer from our firm, contact us for a FREE and confidential consultation!