Car accidents happen every single day, and the average person will be in at least a few accidents during his or her lifetime. These collisions can be chaotic and cause serious injury, even in minor fender benders. After the accident, you are likely to be shaken up, anxious, and in shock. It may be difficult for you to think straight and make decisions that are in your best interest. This is why knowing what to do and what not to do ahead of time is so important.
Saying the wrong thing after an accident can put your rights to compensation or damages at risk, when it was rightfully yours. Unknowingly ruining your chances in receiving a fair amount of monetary restitution is probably the last thing you want to do. Here are a few things you should not say when at the scene of the accident, or when reporting what happened to an insurance company:
“I’m Sorry and Feel Terrible”
At this time, it’s best to completely eliminate the word “sorry” from your vocabulary. Sometimes we may say sorry as a way to neutralize a situation and express empathy for what has occurred. However, saying sorry may be interpreted as a guilt admission, and may be used against you later, even if you were not at-fault.
“I’m Okay and Not Hurt”
When asked if you are hurt, it’s better to just say you aren’t sure yet. Car accidents can send a body reeling with adrenaline and stress hormones, which may disguise injuries temporarily. For instance, maybe in the few minutes after the accident you didn’t feel pain, but then the next day your neck is in severe pain from whiplash. Even minor collisions can cause injury to the body, so getting examined by a medical team or doctor the same day is encouraged.
“I Accept the Settlement”
You must speak with a qualified lawyer about your situation before accepting a settlement offer. Unfortunately, many insurance companies will offer low-ball settlements because they know the average person won’t know the true extent of how much they deserve. And because many people are desperate for money after a car accident due to their losses, they may accept the initial offer because they need the cash immediately.