The aftermath of a car accident is emotional. People are upset, frustrated, shocked and someone may be physically injured, too. In this situation, it’s almost a reflex to apologize, even if you’re not entirely sure that you’re the one to blame. In an auto accident, you must be careful about apologizing. It can, unfortunately, come back to bite you.
How Apologies May Be Viewed
Let’s assume that you get involved in an auto accident in Texas. Someone in the other vehicle has a broken leg, must get medical care and miss work. His car is totaled, too. You also suffer injuries and your car sustains heavy damage.
Let’s also assume that at the scene you made a simple statement such as, “I am so sorry, are you ok, do you need an ambulance?” This seemingly innocuous statement has many interpretations when it comes time to make an insurance claim or file a personal injury lawsuit.
Here are a few of the reasons to try to avoid making such statements at the scene:
- An apology could be viewed as an admission of fault: At the scene, the other driver might tell the police that you apologized, which could end up in the police report. If it does, the insurance company will see it and may try to use it as a reason to reduce the amount of compensation you receive.
- You don’t know all the facts: Apologizing at the scene can make it look like you believe you caused the accident. In reality, you won’t know who caused it until police, accident experts and other professionals have time to analyze the situation.
- There are more important things at the moment: Apologizing is certainly an act of kindness and civility, but it’s not an action that helps someone in the moments after the crash. Instead of apologizing, try to find out if everyone is ok or if someone needs medical attention. Take pictures of the scene if possible. Exchange driver’s license and insurance information. All of these concrete actions are more helpful, to you and others, than a statement of apology.
Insurance Companies Use Apologies to Reduce Payouts
The other driver’s insurance company will do anything it can to reduce the amount of compensation they pay to you. If they find out you apologized, they will use it to try to pin liability on you. So even though you’re a human being and you feel empathy, avoid saying “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t see you there.” Those two statements alone can give the insurance company leverage to minimize the value of your claim.
Our Dallas Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers Can Help
Ted B. Lyon & Associates in Dallas represents people injured in all kinds of auto accidents. If you or someone you love needs legal help to obtain compensation for an injury, please call 866-503-4864 or send us a message. Your initial consultation is free.