Apologizing for a car crash feels like the right thing to do, even if you are not at fault. You may be partially to blame, but sometimes crash victims apologize when they are probably not even one percent to blame for what happened.
However, apologizing or admitting fault is not only a bad idea because you might be wrong, but you could also hurt your claim for compensation. It is important to remember insurance companies are always looking for some reason to deny your claim or underpay it. An admission of fault by the victim gives the insurance company the kind of reason they are looking for.
Below, our licensed attorneys discuss several reasons why it is a bad idea to admit fault for a car crash.
If you were injured in a Louisiana car accident and have questions about seeking compensation, Galloway Jefcoat is here to help. An initial consultation is free and there are no upfront fees for our services. Call today to learn more.
You Could Be Wrong
Car accidents are stressful experiences for everyone involved. Even a minor fender bender that results in minimal vehicle damage and minor injuries can leave people psychologically traumatized.
You may not be thinking clearly after a crash because you are stressed out, unsure of what to do next, or anxious because you are going to be late to work or an appointment.
Considering your mental state after a crash, it is best not to make sweeping judgments about what happened or your role in the crash. When the police arrive, tell them what you remember and avoid stating opinions or saying things you are not sure about.
You Are Not Required to Admit Fault for an Accident
Even if you are at fault, you are not required to admit it. There is a common misconception that admitting fault may speed up the legal process and allow the situation to be resolved more quickly and allow you to move on. However, if you admit fault, your insurance company may need to pay for the other driver’s damages. This will affect your driving record and your insurance premiums may increase.
It is important to understand an admission of fault can be as simple as saying, “I am sorry,” “I apologize,” or “I did not see you.” Even though you did not say it was your fault, that is how statements like these could be interpreted by the insurance company and the police.
It Can Be Difficult to Change Your Statement
Once an admission of fault has been documented, you may have a hard time changing it. The police and insurance company use statements to help them determine how to close the case.
Even if you tell them that you were wrong and have some evidence to back you up, changing your statement could damage your credibility and undermine your case. Insurance companies are always looking for reasons to attack the victim’s credibility to avoid paying full compensation for damages.
The Crash Has Not Been Fully Investigated Yet
You may think you know why the accident happened. In fact, you may feel pretty sure of your immediate analysis of the situation.
However, you may not have all the facts. You can only rely on what you saw, and you may not have seen some of the things that happened in the moments leading up to the crash. You may not have noticed the other driver was distracted.
You may have had a limited view of the other vehicle in the moments leading up to the crash. It is possible there are eyewitnesses who had a much better view of what happened.
It is unlikely most crash victims have training in car accident investigation. One of the most important things to understand about a car crash is there are many factors that can contribute to it. A defective car part could have contributed to the crash.
If you admit fault for the crash, the insurance company may deny your claim or push for an end to it with a small settlement. They may not be that detailed in their investigation of what happened.
Your Statements Could Be Used to Deny or Devalue Your Claim
Louisiana is an at-fault state, which means the at-fault driver is responsible for the damages he or she causes. In other words, you will not be able to recover compensation from another driver’s liability insurance if you are the one who is at fault.
Insurance companies are committed to their bottom lines, which means they want to deny car crash claims. Even if you are wrong about your role in the crash, the other driver’s insurance company may use your statements as reasons to deny your claim.
Short of denying your claim, the insurance company may assign a significant portion of fault to you. While this does not prevent you from recovering compensation, your award will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Avoiding Admissions of Fault for a Crash
If you want to protect the value of your claim and your own credibility, you should strongly consider hiring a licensed attorney to help you pursue compensation. The attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat can deal with the insurance company and other involved parties on your behalf. We know how to protect the value of car crash claims because we have been doing so for more than 25 years.
The insurance company may get in touch with you after the crash, but before you have had the chance to talk to a lawyer. If this happens, it is important to limit what you say to the insurance company. You do not need to say much more than the date, time and location of the crash. You can tell them you have sought medical treatment. However, they do not need to know much beyond that. They can learn more about the crash after investigating. Your attorney can work with you to obtain the necessary medical records to validate your injuries.
Getting into a long conversation with the insurance company is a bad idea. You are dealing with professionals who are working against your interests. You can decline to answer questions if you do not feel comfortable. You can also tell them you will put them in touch with your attorney.
Anything you say to the insurance company may be used against you. They may record your phone conversation or at the very least take notes.
Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you were injured in a car crash caused by another driver’s negligence, our Lafayette auto accident attorneys may be able to help. We understand what crash victims deal with because we have helped so many secure compensation.
There are no risks with our services because there are no upfront fees and no fees while working on your case. In fact, you are not obligated to hire our firm after meeting with an attorney for a free consultation.
Unlike the insurance company, which is looking for any reason to avoid paying the compensation you need, our firm is committed to securing maximum compensation.
Give us a call today. We are here to help. (337) 984-8020