Being involved in a car accident can be overwhelming and chaotic. You may feel shaken up, frustrated, and disoriented and, in the moment, it might feel like a completely natural thing to apologize for the accident even if it was not your fault. But apologizing after any car accident – whether it was your fault or not – is not a good idea. Below, Chicago personal injury lawyers at Curcio Law Offices explain why.
If you or a loved one has been severely injured or killed in a car accident, you may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit and recover financial compensation. Call 312-321-1111 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced attorneys today.
Your Apology Could Be Interpreted As An Admission of Guilt
Apologizing at the accident scene can create a record of the apology, which the other driver’s insurance company will see. The insurance adjuster has a job to keep you from obtaining the proper compensation, so you should expect them to use your apology as evidence of your guilt. An apology might not be enough to deny you complete compensation, it could be enough to reduce it.
You Don’t Know All of the Facts About the Accident Yet
You may believe that you are at fault, but there is no reason to rush into accepting responsibility when you do not have all the facts. Letting law enforcement complete a police report to document the accident – and letting your personal injury attorney do their job of gathering evidence – would be beneficial before admitting fault.
You Could Get in Trouble With the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company
The at-fault party’s insurance company will most likely call you after the accident in an attempt to make you admit fault. You should not offer any admission of fault or any type of apology that may risk your chance of receiving proper compensation or having your personal injury compensation denied. You should ask your personal injury attorney to speak with the insurance adjuster to ensure that no mistakes are made.
What Should I Do if I Apologize to the Other Driver at the Accident Scene?
Let’s say you get in an accident and immediately run out to see if the other person(s) are okay. They complain that their neck is sore, but nothing more beyond that. You feel bad about the entire accident, even though it wasn’t your fault and you’re searching for a nice thing to say, so you blurt out, “I am so sorry about this!”
First, don’t panic. Just because you said the words “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean that you said magic words and now you owe the other driver $150,000. Oftentimes, injured drivers will not immediately take an apology as an admission of guilt, especially if you were just expressing concern.
Although, you now need to be extra careful in everything you say. While exchanging contact and insurance information, make sure you only say as much as needed. When you’re done with the information exchange, go back and sit in your vehicle if it’s safe.
Lastly, make sure you contact an attorney that has experience with handling car accidents and personal injury cases.
What To Do After a Car Accident
Car accidents are never a pleasant experience. However, you can take steps to protect yourself and prepare for a car insurance claim or lawsuit.
If you’ve called 911, a police officer will likely be dispatched to the accident. Law enforcement will help protect you from other vehicles moving in the area, make a police report regarding the accident, and fully investigate to find out the events leading to the motor vehicle accident. You need to take the name and badge number of the officer(s) so that the report can be obtained easily later. Calling 911 will also help you seek emergency medical attention if necessary.
Ask For The Other Driver’s Contact Information
Identify the other driver involved in your accident. Get the other driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information. If the driver of the vehicle isn’t the owner of the vehicle, get the owner’s information too. To prevent any mistakes or the loss of information, take a picture of the other driver’s insurance card and driver’s license and email or text it to yourself.
Gather Evidence At the Scene
Getting witnesses’ contact information is important just in case that person(s) leaves the scene before the police arrive.
You should also note details related to the vehicles involved, including the make, model, year, license plate number, and general description of the vehicle.
Take pictures of any property damage, as well as the scene where the accident occurred: for example, where the cars came to rest, any tire marks on the road, etc. Also, look around to see if there are any cameras nearby, such as surveillance or doorbell cameras. Make note of their location and who you might need to contact to get a copy of the footage.
Call Your Insurance Company
Your car insurance company will have a number to call to report the accident. You can also call your insurance agent who will ask certain questions and report the accident to your insurance company on your behalf.
Notifying your insurance company as soon as possible is extremely important, regardless of who is at fault. Your policy requires you to promptly notify your insurance company of any accident that could trigger coverage. Failure to provide timely notice to your insurance institute could jeopardize your coverage.
Hire Legal Counsel
Just because you report the accident to your car insurance carrier doesn’t mean that you have to file a claim. If your accident results in serious injury or major property damage, don’t sign anything that comes from the other driver’s attorney or insurance company without talking to a lawyer. Even if you think that the accident was minor, you need to be certain that you are protected.
Remember, you need a lawyer, even if you aren’t seeking compensation. You will have no way of knowing if the other parties are going to try to get compensation or take you to court for your involvement in the case. Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney can help decide whether you need to seek personal injury compensation.
Call Chicago Car Accident Lawyers at Curcio Law Offices Today
If you were recently injured in a motor vehicle accident, you will need a skilled personal injury on your side. At Curcio Law Offices, we have the resources and experience to help you win compensation for your pain, suffering, and financial losses.
Our legal team has established a reputation for providing trusted, honorable, customized representation and is considered one of the leading personal injury law firms in Chicago. Call our office today at 312-321-1111 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.