Out of the blue, you find yourself involved in a car or truck crash. Naturally, you want to take steps to assess the situation and check on the condition of your vehicle. You may also feel the need to interact with the other driver(s). However, at this crucial moment, you must be careful what you say to anyone else, including accident bystanders. Even a few seemingly harmless words can leave you in unwarranted legal jeopardy. Here are some of the statements you should never make after a vehicle collision.
If you’re like most people, you’ll feel a need to empathize with other people involved in a crash. This is a perfectly human and decent impulse. Unfortunately, it may also put you in hot water with the law and insurance companies. That’s because your statement may fit the legal definition of an admission of guilt.
You may well have been the cause of an accident. On the other hand, you might be blameless. In the moment, you may lack the clarity or the perspective needed to judge your level of responsibility. That’s especially true if your crash triggers any kind of head trauma. Before you know it, your gesture of good will can form the basis of an unjustified claim against you. Even if it takes conscious effort, don’t apologize. While this may seem unkind, it merely provides you with basic legal protection.
It’s My Fault
In your heart of hearts, you may feel at fault for a car or truck crash. In line with this feeling, you may want to admit guilt on the spot. However, this legally incriminating admission could very well have no basis in fact. As a person involved in a crash, you may lack crucial information on what happened and why. What seems like a straightforward set of facts may end up not so straightforward, after all.
That’s why police take the time to investigate. It also explains why insurance companies hire trained professionals to examine accident sites. These investigators can take hours or days to determine all the factors behind a collision. Only at the end of this type of process can anyone know for sure what happened. Don’t make the mistake of believing you can make an accurate assessment from your limited viewpoint.
I Didn’t See You
Vehicle collisions often seem like they happen out of nowhere. One minute you’re driving along, and the next you crash into another car or truck. It’s not uncommon to get into a wreck while seeing everything that occurred. However, this doesn’t mean that you should make statements to this effect. The reason? You simply don’t have all the facts.
It could be true that you didn’t see another vehicle before crashing. But you must realize that there may be perfectly good explanations for this fact. Perhaps you didn’t see the other driver because they ran a red light. Or maybe the other driver failed to turn on their vehicle’s headlights at night or in other low-light conditions. Also, the other vehicle(s) may have traveled at a dangerous speed, making it impossible for you to react in time. You just don’t know. So don’t assume you bear responsibility if you didn’t see the other driver. And certainly don’t bring this point up at the crash site.
What Should You Do?
Given the realities of life, it’s always best to keep conversation to a minimum after a vehicle collision. However, you do bear certain obligations under the law. For example, you must provide all other involved drivers with up-to-date contact information. You must also show them your valid driver’s license and exchange insurance details. Everyone else must do the same, as well.
You should also speak to any police or law enforcement officials who respond to the scene. Even then, stick to factual matters and steer clear of any opinion-based speculations. You can go into more detail during later conversations with representatives from your insurance company. However, always be wary of what you say to companies representing other involved drivers.
Wondering what to do in the aftermath of a vehicle collision? Avoid saying anything that can leave you in a legal bind. Exchange required information and review basic facts with law enforcement. Depending on where your accident occurs, you may have no say in determining the company that tows your vehicle away. If you do have a choice, make sure to contact us at NK Towing for professionalism and reliability.