When you’re dealing with something as serious as a motor vehicle accident, especially where people were injured, what you do or do not say after the crash can hold significant weight later on. If you are in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, make sure you are prepared to say the right thing, ask the necessary questions, and avoid making any incriminating statements.
After an accident, never say the following:
Never say that you are unharmed after an accident. Even if you feel alright, the adrenaline coursing through you after a traumatic event, like a car accident, can mask very serious issues that you may not presently be aware of. Always seek medical attention after an accident for a professional opinion before you tell anyone that you are uninjured. If you claim to be uninjured after the accident, and later find out you suffered whiplash or some other injury, it could make it more difficult to seek compensation.
While it’s often human nature to apologize after something scary or harmful happened, it is very important that you refrain from doing so after an accident. If you apologize, the other person could interpret your expression of sympathy as an admission of guilt, which could hold weight in court. Even if you do think you are at fault, you can’t be sure and should not admit to it until you’ve sought a professional opinion. Your vehicle could have malfunctioned without you knowing it, or some other factor could have been at play to cause the incident, not you.
It is perfectly fine to show compassion and care for others involved in an accident, in fact, it is very good to do so, but never admit that it was “okay.” By saying things are alright, it could be construed as absolving the other parties of responsibility for the crash. While it may seem callus, do not tell the other people involved that what happened is okay, instead leave those decisions to your lawyer and the lawyer of the other drivers involved.
What you should do in the case of an accident, is make sure everyone is unharmed. Ask your passengers, the driver of the other vehicles involved, other passengers, pedestrians, or anyone else involved in the accident. You should make a point to see if anyone needs medical attention, and if anyone seems harmed in any way, call 911. Not only is this the right thing to do, it could also help your case.
Also, be sure to exchange information with the other parties involved, as well as any witnesses and the officer who reported the accident. Write down the name, contact information, insurance provider, and license plate number of the other driver. Take down the name and contact information of the witnesses, as well as a quick statement from each about what they saw from the accident. Ask the officer who assisted you for his or her badge number and name.
For more legal help following a motor vehicle crash, contact Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, P.A..