Regret or Responsibility? Saying Sorry After a Car Accident
If you’re like most people in the southern United States, manners are instilled in you from a young age. We’re taught to say “please” and “thank you,” and to maintain an air of politeness around everyone we meet.
There are times, however, when politeness should not be our top priority—such as immediately following a car wreck. Plenty of people who are involved in a car wreck that wasn’t their fault immediately resort to apologizing to the other people involved out of politeness or empathy. This can be detrimental to your case. Here’s how.
Fault Determination In A Car Accident
In the wake of a car wreck, authorities will have to conduct an assessment of fault. This assessment determines who is liable for the wreck: whose insurance has to pay and who’s writing the ticket. An innocent driver apologizing after a wreck is a quick way to get the blame for it.
An apology influences the investigations of the people in power after the wreck. Apologizing can be viewed by most people as an admission of fault. Insurance companies and their adjusters, along with law enforcement, can view the crash, record your apology, and wrongfully determine that you were at fault. The determination of fault is crucial because it drastically affects your claim and can lead to significant legal ramifications.
Skewing the Story
The responsible driver’s insurance company and their attorneys can go to extreme lengths to try and get you to make statements that would shift the blame of the wreck. That’s why it’s so important to be careful of what you say following a car wreck and avoid conversations that could be misinterpreted to putting you at fault.
Once the story of the crash is skewed and the fault is wrongfully placed on you, your chances at a claim are next to none. Right or wrong, you’ll be the one paying up.
What if you are partially at fault in the accident, but not the main cause of the accident? You still have a chance at seeking compensation, because many states do recognize that more than one party can play a part in an accident.
This is when contributory negligence comes into play. Contributory negligence is when there is a primary driver who is at fault for the majority of an accident, but there’s also another driver who was partially responsible as well. If a court decides that you, as the less responsible driver, had at least a 10% fault in the crash, they can block you from creating a claim to get your compensation. Your apology opens up the door for the guilty driver’s insurance company and attorneys to charge you with contributory negligence and you can be stopped from getting your claim.
Protect Your Car Accident Claim
Apologizing out of habit or politeness after a wreck can cost you the money you need and deserve. We’ve seen it happen time and time again. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important for you to have an experienced car accident attorney team on your side that knows how to win. Wettermark Keith will fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve. Your case matters. Protect your claim and contact us today for a free consultation.
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If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.