Car accidents can be very stressful. People are often shaken up following a collision on the road. Between panic and confusion, you could find yourself uttering statements that may hurt your chances of recovering financial loss for your accident. The police, the insurance company, and other parties could interpret these unintentional statements as an admission of fault. They can try to use them against you when you are filing a claim or defending yourself in court.
Insurance adjusters who reach out to drivers while they are still in a state of shock could obtain evidence that limits liability and diminish claim for compensation. Here are essential guidelines on how to avoid hurting your car accident claim.
What Not to Say at the Scene of the Accident
To determine who is responsible for paying for damages in a car accident, the insurer will look at the evidence at the crash site. They will evaluate as well the statements made by the drivers involved and witnesses if there are any.
It is easy to get disoriented and emotional right after an accident. Without thinking clearly, you might feel the need to apologize for the collision. Even if you were somewhat at fault, you should avoid saying anything that can be interpreted as admitting responsibility. Read this before making a recorded statement to the insurance company.
Some examples of statements you should not say at the scene of an accident:
- I am sorry
- I apologize
- I did not see you coming
- I only looked away for a second
- I was briefly on the phone
- I knew I should have checked my tires
Any of these statements can appear as an admission of fault, and they could make it difficult to explain the true version of events later.
You should also avoid making statements when you are angry. Sometimes, out of spite, you find yourself insulting or threatening the other driver. It puts them on the defensive and could provide a motivation to prove that the fault was yours. Try to stay calm and not react out of raw emotion.
What Not to Say After the Accident
An insurance adjuster or police officer may contact you shortly after the accident. Here are three things you should avoid saying.
- Statements about your health
Do not say that you are fine or that your injuries are minor. The insurance company might deny your claim on the basis that you were not as injured as you really were. If they ask questions about your health, just show them your medical records.
It is best not to give any opinion about the accident, such as blaming the other driver. Let the police and insurance adjusters conduct their investigation and reach their own conclusion.
If they ask you how the accident happened, how fast you were driving, and other things that you are not truly certain, do not make a guess. Even if you believe that you were at fault for the crash, you do not know all the factors that led to the accident. The other driver could have been:
- Following too closely
- Running a red light
- Ignoring a traffic sign
- Driving a poorly maintained vehicle
Remember: any statement that you make can potentially be misinterpreted. Just stick to the facts and avoid making unnecessary comments when reporting an accident.
What Not To Say To Your Insurance Claims Adjuster
Bear in mind that the main objective of the claims adjuster is to protect the interests of the insurance company – which means limiting liability. Avoid any admission of fault, and do not be too friendly with them. Do not editorialize your account of the accident; just state the facts. Do not lie. If they ask you questions, politely decline until you have discussed your situation with your lawyer.
Why You Should Hire a Car Accident Attorney
An expert attorney can help you talk to the insurance adjuster without admitting fault. If you are the victim of a negligent driver, a lawyer will ensure that you get proper compensation for any damages or injuries. Insurance companies will throw out every trick in the book just to get you to say something damaging to your case. If you are not careful, irresponsible statements could significantly affect your claim for compensation.
Our Lansing car accident experts at The Clark Law Office can protect your interest by handing all your communications with the insurance company. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your legal options. If you need help with your car accident claims, call The Clark Law Office at 517-347-6900 today.