When something bad happens, many people have the instinct to apologize, regardless of whether or not they did something wrong. People say "I'm sorry" when almost bumping into another person in a hallway or "I'm sorry" for being justifiably late to a meeting.
Apologizing after a car accident, however, can lead to unforeseen consequences. It can open you up to liability or have an impact on any personal injury claim you may have for your injuries.
Apologizing admits guilt
If you apologize after an accident, it implies that you were at fault for the accident. Even if this is not true, your statement can be used against you by the insurance company, a police officer or in a personal injury case.
Even if you believe the accident was your fault, it is important to avoid saying anything after an accident that admits your guilt or provides further evidence of any wrongdoing. Right after an accident, many individuals initially lay blame on themselves. However, there may have been other factors that caused your accident. For example, the other driver may have been texting and did not see your vehicle.
What should you do after an accident?
Avoid giving an apology or an opinion about the cause of the accident. Instead, focus on ensuring that anyone who is injured receives medical attention as soon as possible. Then, collect the evidence and information you may need for your claim, including:
- Exchanging insurance information with the other driver
- Obtaining contact information from the other driver
- Taking pictures of the accident
- Collecting the names and contact information for any witnesses at the scene
If you suffered serious injuries in the accident, you may also wish to reach out to a personal injury attorney in your area. A lawyer can help you determine if you have a personal injury claim and also assist in negotiations with the insurance company.