You may have been raised to be polite, but apologizing to another driver or admitting that you were distracted before a car accident is a costly mistake. If you don’t want to be held responsible for a car accident – and all of the costs that may ensue – avoid saying you’re sorry.
This is the first thing you should remember after a car accident: any courteous gesture could result in the other driver deciding to pursue a claim against you and may land you in court, where a polite remark could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. There are things to keep in mind in the aftermath of a car accident to avoid being held responsible, getting stuck with a repair bill or having to pay increased insurance premiums well into the future. Here are some tips:
– Avoid sharing your opinion: You may have some ideas about what contributed to the crash, but you should keep them to yourself when discussing the accident with the other motorist, with police or with an insurance representative. When you share your version, avoid statements of opinion. Always be honest with your insurance company and law enforcement, but any facts you aren’t sure of – including speed, distance or contributing factors – means you shouldn’t hazard a guess. If you unwittingly give a false representation of what happened because you misjudged what happened, you might find yourself being held financially responsible.
– Don’t sign any document, with the exception of the official police report: The other driver or his/her insurance company may attempt to get you to sign documents in the aftermath of a car crash, but you should never do so without consulting with a qualified Atlanta car accident attorney. Treat the legal documents you will be faced with after crash as any other contract: you want to be sure you know what you’re agreeing to before signing your name. An example of some of the documents you may be asked to sign could include a medical release form, which might be used against you if the insurance company or other driver’s attorney probes for details about your health conditions that are unrelated to the car accident at hand. The insurance company may also try to get you to sign a settlement that doesn’t cover your immediate and future costs.
– When the other driver is clearly at fault, ask police to make a note of it: In some instances, it is obvious whose fault the car accident was. The other driver may have made an illegal turn, may have been traveling at an excessive rate of speed or may have obviously violated the rules of the road. In such cases, ask the police officer called to the scene to make a note of it in the police report. This could include car accidents in which the other driver is given a ticket or citation as a result of the car accident. The police report is a crucial piece of documentation for supporting your claim for compensation after a car accident, whether you decide to pursue this with the insurance company or through the services of a qualified Atlanta car accident attorney. That’s why you should strive to have a police report that is as accurate as possible, including notes about who was responsible.
– Don’t give out your personal information: When discussing the car accident, stick to the facts only. The main communication you should have with the other driver involves exchanging insurance information – not personal details. Any information about your family, your job or your medical history could prompt the other driver to attempt to launch a case against you that goes after your personal assets.
– Be careful in conversations with insurance representatives: You should also stick to the basic details of the crash when speaking with claims adjusters and insurance agents you may have to deal with after a car accident – not personal information or opinion. In many cases, they may attempt to get you to give a statement without your realization. It would be a wise move to consult with an Atlanta car accident attorney who is experienced in personal injury law before agreeing to have your statements recorded by the insurance company. Insurance providers will need to request your permission before recording an interview, and legal counsel could become necessary before you find yourself admitting how your actions may have contributed to the crash. Telling the other driver’s insurance agent to speak with your lawyer is advisable.