11 Things You Should Never Say After an Accident, According to Car Accident Lawyers

After you’ve been in a Kansas City car accident, it’s normal to feel shaky and scared. You might be wondering if anyone was injured, the damage will be covered by insurance, or the accident is somehow your fault. But it’s important to stay level-headed and take your time in answering questions. And if you’re able to, immediately contact a car accident lawyer who can advise you on how to protect your legal rights.

11 Things You Should Never Say After an Accident, According to Car Accident Lawyers

1. I Think…

You will be asked many different questions by many different people after an accident. Those who may interview you include:

  • Your insurance company
  • The policy
  • The other driver’s insurance company
  • Your own attorney

Every answer you give should be based on fact, not opinion. Avoid speculating or approximating, especially if you’re unsure about an answer. False information, even if given in the best of faith, can make you seem unreliable and/or your account of events seem inaccurate. And either of these situations can jeopardize your legal claim. If you’re unsure as to how a certain question should be answered, simply say, “I don’t know.”

2. I Accept

If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you with a settlement offer, never say, “I accept.” This settlement usually represents the very minimum your case is worth, and the insurance company wants you to settle as quickly as possible so they don’t have to pay more money. You may be tempted to do so for a rapid influx of cash, but this is rarely in your best interest.

Instead, you want to consult with an attorney in Kansas City. He or she will advocate on your behalf and identify the true value of your claim by calculating medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Saying “I accept” before you make this consultation is likely to cheat you out of the fair settlement you deserve.

3. I Don’t Have an Attorney

You probably don’t have an attorney in those first moments immediately after an accident. This does not mean, however, that you should advertise the fact. If the other party and/or their insurance company thinks you’re on your own, they may try to take advantage of you.
You can instead say you are considering your representation options. If you do have an attorney, provide his or her name to the insurance company when they ask about your representation. This lets them know you’re taking the accident seriously.

4. I’m Not Hurt or Injured

Car accident claims are almost entirely based on the injuries you sustain. But these injuries don’t necessarily show immediately. To illustrate, traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, and other invisible conditions may not appear until days or weeks after the accident.

With this in mind, you shouldn’t comment on your injuries immediately following an accident. Saying you’re not hurt can harm your legal claim further down the road. Also, avoid discussing the accident and your condition on social media platforms. Insurance companies often scout these platforms and use claimants’ words against them in court. Last but not least, seek medical attention immediately after the accident and if new symptoms appear.

5. I’ll Pay the Expense

You may not want to deal with the aftermath of a car accident, hoping instead that everything will go away if you simply pay for your car’s damages out of your own pocket. But committing to this is akin to accepting responsibility for the accident. 
Before you even think about finances, ensure you have all the facts about the accident. This means every single detail, and if you need to, write them down to help you remember. Also, consult with a Kansas City car accident lawyer before paying for any costs related to the accident.

6. I Apologize

People tend to instinctively apologize in tense situations, even when that tension is not their fault. But in those early moments after a car accident, you need to take a few deep breaths and clear your head. Also, resist the urge to say you’re sorry; apologizing is almost always viewed as an admission of fault. In turn, this can affect your claim and the settlement amount awarded to you. 

7. I Was Distracted

Similar to “I’m sorry,” saying you were distracted when the accident happened can negatively impact your fight for compensation. You likely don’t know the exact cause of the accident; it may have been distraction or another element. Until all the facts are gathered and analyzed, you don’t need to explain anything. If the other party asks you questions, simply say you don’t know or that you need to consult with your attorney.

8. That Was My Fault

This may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people harm their chances of compensation by explicitly admitting to fault. Again, you and the other party likely do not have a complete and accurate account of the incident. Most people are rattled after an accident, and it’s only later, after their nerves have calmed down and they once again feel safe, that they begin to recall events with more clarity. 

The bottom line is that admitting to an accident before you consult with an attorney can affect your claim. You may be falsely accepting blame and, in addition, could be at risk for receiving a traffic ticket.

9. I Didn’t See You There

This goes hand-in-hand with our previous point. Saying things like, “You came out of nowhere,” or “I didn’t see you,” or even, “That other car was blocking my view,” can be interpreted as admissions of guilt. The insurance company will argue you should have seen someone and didn’t. Even if one of these statements is true, keep it to yourself until you consult with a car accident lawyer.

10. This Is My Official Statement

As mentioned earlier, a number of different questions will be hurled at you after a car accident. Driver and witness reports will both be taken and later used by attorneys in the discovery process. But your account of the accident is different from your official statement, and the two shouldn’t be confused.

Any official statement you provide will be used in all future proceedings. It’s best to prepare this with a Kansas City lawyer to ensure accuracy; you don’t want to omit important details, but neither do you want to inadvertently incriminate yourself.

11. We Don’t Need to Call the Police

Regardless of those events that caused the accident, it’s crucial you call the police so a report can be filed. Without their presence, proof the accident happened will be nearly non-existent. This leaves room for changing stories and disputes after you file your claim.

On the other hand, a police report on file will speed up the claims process and establish a record of events. This becomes especially important if you sustain long-term injuries or cannot repair your vehicle because of extensive damage.

Car accidents are stressful situations that can prompt you to say things you don’t mean or later regret. Keep in mind your words in those early moments can significantly impact the outcome of your case. It’s therefore best to avoid the phrases listed here and stick only to the facts. And let our experienced team of attorneys fight on your behalf. Receive a free case review by contacting Potts Law Firm today.