If you’ve been in a car accident, it may be your first impulse to say “sorry.” What you say after an accident can have consequences later on, however, so it is best to be careful what you do say. When it comes time to determine liability and reward settlements, your words at the scene of the accident can be used against you. Learn what to do after you’ve been involved in an accident.
Checking on Others
It is important to ensure all the others involved in the accident are all right and to call for emergency medical assistance if someone is injured. Ask the others if they are okay or if they need help, but refrain from making statements that could be seen as apologetic or as admitting blame. These statements can be used as a reason to reduce the amount of your settlement by insurance companies, as it can be construed as an admittance of fault. Avoid saying things like, “I didn’t see you.” or “I’m sorry, I should have looked again.” Even if you were not at fault for the accident, insurance companies will try to justify a smaller settlement.
After any injured people have been taken care of, you will need to exchange information with the other driver. Provide your insurance information, name, and contact information, and be sure to gather the same from them. You do not need to speculate about what happened or share your side with the other party. Collect contact information and names from any witnesses as well.
Making a Statement
If there were injuries or significant property damage, the local police should be called to take a statement. They will collect an account of the accident from everyone, as well as note the details of the accident. When providing your statement, tell your story. Refrain from saying “I think” or “I believe” and from speculating about the accident. State only the facts. You do not need to give a separate statement to the insurance company, and you should never allow yourself to be recorded by anyone. Direct any requests for a statement to the police report or to your attorney.
What you say after an accident should be well thought out and careful. Insurance companies are looking for reasons to save money and not pay the full amount you deserve. When talking to insurance companies, your lawyer should be involved. They can guide you through these conversations and protect your claim. If in doubt, remember that saying less can be better.
If you need representation after a car accident, contact our Hawaii car accident attorneys. Our team has been Hawaii’s trusted personal injury lawyers since 1971, and we can give you compassionate, driven legal advocacy. Your needs are our primary concern. ContactLeavitt, Yamane & Soldner today and arrange for a free consultation by calling (808) 518-2120.