When you’ve been involved in a car accident, human nature often takes over. However, if you’re not careful about what you say, it could come back later to haunt you. It’s important to keep a level head and approach the situation logically, even though your emotions may be running high. Here are some things you should avoid saying at the scene of an accident.
It’s natural to apologize for what happened, whether you believe the collision was your fault or not. However, by saying “I’m sorry,” it could be interpreted by the other driver and your insurance company that you are admitting fault. Instead, ask, “Are you okay?” or “Can I call for help?”
“I Was Just . . . “
You never want to speculate about what might have caused the crash — that’s the job of law enforcement, accident re-constructionists, and insurance companies. You may feel compelled to offer up excuses as to what happened, such as you were “just on the phone” or “just turning down the radio” when all of a sudden, the crash occurred. However, this paints a picture of distracted driving. Your safest bet when asked or commenting on what caused the crash is to say “I don’t know,” because truly, you don’t until a full investigation has been completed.
“My Car’s X Wasn’t Working”
It’s normal for people to experience car trouble, but you don’t want to mention it at the scene of an accident. For example, you never want to say anything like “my brakes have been kind of touchy lately and it’s been difficult to stop.” Whether true or not, this suggests that you may be at fault for the accident and may have been negligent in properly maintaining your vehicle.
Many people will ask you how you’re feeling after the accident, and the most common knee-jerk reaction is to say “I’m fine,” even if you’re a little bruised or shook up. Don’t tell paramedics, police officers, or the other driver that you’re fine. Often, the shock of a car accident can prevent people from feeling pain right away. Instead say, “I need a thorough medical examination.”
At the Law Offices of Donald J. Matson, we can help you navigate the difficult process of dealing with the aftermath of a car accident. Contact us today for a consultation by calling (626) 792-1900.