A car accident can have a devastating effect on you in several ways. Physically, you can sustain serious injuries that can alter the course of your life. Even when you come out of the accident unscathed, there may be legal ramifications. That’s why you should never admit fault immediately after a car accident. Contact a Long Beach car accident attorney. Such a legal professional is better placed to offer you representation.
Admission Of Fault After A Car Accident
A car accident can be a traumatizing experience. Even when you haven’t suffered any injuries or damage to your car, the mere fact that you nearly did will weigh heavily on your mind, especially immediately after the accident. Your body will produce a lot of adrenaline during such a time, leaving you very shaken.
This is when you’re in the most fragile state of mind and likely to make statements that may be misinterpreted as an admission of guilt.
If you consider yourself a decent human being, it’s only natural that you’ll feel the need to take the blame for your involvement in a car accident. Sometimes, you may have contributed to the accident, knowingly or otherwise. While it’s a noble thing to own up to your actions, such decency can get you in legal trouble. Even making a seemingly trivial remark immediately after a car accident could have serious consequences in subsequent legal proceedings.
The following are some of the common statements people make immediately after an accident, statements that can be interpreted as an admission of fault.
- i) I didn’t see you.
- ii) It’s my fault.
iii) My apologies.
- iv) Don’t feel bad. It’s not your fault.
- v) I couldn’t see the stop sign.
- vi) I was probably too distracted to notice.
vii) I figured I could beat the yellow light.
You may not intend to make such statements. However, people often make them as part of creating rapport with the other driver in the aftermath of an accident. These seemingly harmless statements, and others like them, can shift the legal dynamics of your case.
Most people believe that admitting fault after a car accident means making an explicit statement to that effect. That’s why many of them make such statements. While the law is clear, it can be open to interpretation. Car accidents provide the kind of scenarios where the law can be interpreted in different ways. This, coupled with the fact that insurance companies and lawyers of the other driver prefer to deflect blame, means that any seeming admission of fault is a potential weapon to be used against you. That’s why it’s always prudent to say as little as possible immediately after an accident.
Consequences Of Admitting Fault
Getting involved in a car accident is not something that happens to most people regularly. This means that the average individual does not know how to react in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. If a person doesn’t have the presence of mind to seek legal representation immediately after an accident, they may be shocked to find out later on that some of their statements are now being used against them.
The consequences of making statements that might be seen as an admission of fault include:
- i) Denial of claim: People admitting fault after a car accident is what insurance companies live for; it gives them the wiggle room to pay out as little of the claim as possible or nothing at all. If you make any statement that can be interpreted as an admission of fault, you may have serious difficulties claiming damages later on.
- ii) Taking the blame: There are scenarios when both parties in a car accident are culpable. Of course, this isn’t always appear immediately after the accident. Only subsequent investigations can reveal this fact. Making statements that seem to point to your guilt after an accident may be what the other driver needs to put the blame for the whole accident on you. Even when you’re not at fault, making superfluous statements may lead you to take the blame for the car accident.
Another problem with making statements that can be interpreted as an admission of fault is that it becomes nearly impossible to retract them. If you’ve made such statements on the record– like to the first officer on the scene- they become official. Even an experienced car accident lawyer will have a hard time undoing it.
What To Do After A Car Accident
If you’ve been involved in a car accident without sustaining serious injuries, the first thing to do is get out of the wreckage. Calling the authorities should be the next course of action. It’s always best to avoid speaking to the other driver. Given the blur of everything that will be happening at that moment, it’s best to keep quiet and avoid making statements that can later prove to be damaging. Call an experienced car accident lawyer in need. Such an attorney will guide you accordingly.