Yes, when someone apologizes after a car accident, it can be interpreted as an admission of fault. This could affect a car accident settlement offer from an insurance company or the outcome of a personal injury lawsuit. Because of this, you will often hear car accident lawyers advise their clients to avoid this. At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C., our legal team advises our clients to be mindful of what they say and do following a wreck because these seemingly minor actions could have significant consequences.
How can an apology be used against you?
There are a few issues to consider here—one of these concerns the insurance company. Even if you choose to work with a personal injury lawyer to secure maximum compensation for your accident-related losses, you might not necessarily need to file a lawsuit. Instead, your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance carrier to obtain the highest possible settlement for you.
However, it’s essential to keep in mind that insurance companies are in business to make money. It isn’t in their best interests to extend fair settlement offers. Instead, they will use many different strategies to claim that you were the at-fault driver so that they can lower their payouts. If the other driver reports that you apologized after the accident, the insurance company will seize on this as an admission of fault, thereby shifting liability to you.
Another issue to consider is that it may indeed become necessary to file a lawsuit. There’s a good chance your apology will figure heavily into your personal injury lawsuit. It may jeopardize your case and your chances of recovering compensation for your losses. Apologizing may seem ethical, but keep in mind that an accident occurs in the blink of an eye. It’s not always possible for one driver to fully ascertain the causes of the crash at that moment. However, it’s certainly possible that the other driver was behaving negligently or recklessly and did indeed contribute to the crash.
What to say and what not to say
Along with “I’m sorry,” you shouldn’t say anything else that might be misinterpreted as an admission of fault. For example, avoid saying things like, “I didn’t see you there,” or “I just looked down for a second– the crash happened so fast.” In fact, it’s best to avoid discussing it at all with the other driver. Instead, you can ask if everyone is alright and let them know you called 911. If they ask if you’re okay, avoid saying you feel fine, even if it’s true. You may have injuries and not know it, as adrenaline can mask pain.
Consult the car accident lawyers in New York and New Jersey for a free consultation
If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident in Rockland County, New York, or Bergen County, New Jersey, you can turn to the experienced legal team at the law office of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. for guidance you can trust. Our car accident law firm has a wealth of experience working with car accident victims and has been securing sizable settlements and jury awards since 1975.
With the resources of a large law firm and the personal touch and attentiveness of a boutique firm, we’re the trusted team you can count on. Call our office today to request your free, no-obligation case review.