Watch What You Say After a Car Accident: Here’s Why
The words you say directly after a car accident can majorly impact your ability to seek compensation for any damage you sustain in the crash. An insurance company’s attorney could twist the briefest of greetings into an admission of guilt. Don’t give them anything to work with. Speak as little as possible after an accident and take extreme caution with any words you have to say.
If you’ve been in an accident, first seek medical attention. Then, contact a local car accident attorney. If your accident was in Las Vegas or a neighboring Nevada town, contact the experienced car accident lawyers at Henness & Haight.
Here’s What To Do After a Car Accident
After an accident, keep quiet. Don’t chat with the other drivers. Only say what’s needed to accomplish the following five steps:
- Get to a safe location away from traffic.
- Get medical assistance for any emergencies.
- Contact a car accident attorney for assistance.
- Contact the police to report the accident.
- Exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved.
After the police take your statement and dismiss everyone from the scene, get checked out by a doctor even if you don’t think you have any injuries from the accident.
The sudden intensity of a car crash can cause your adrenaline to spike. High adrenaline levels can mask pain. Often people at an accident scene think they’re okay, only to have injuries surface later after the adrenaline wears off. Some injuries, like internal bleeding or concussions, may not be readily recognizable immediately.
Get a physical exam after any auto accident.
It’s Okay to Say These Three Things After an Accident
“Do you need medical assistance?”
Help anyone injured in the accident get medical attention. Injured parties could include drivers, passengers, or pedestrians involved in the accident.
Don’t offer sympathy because it could be seen as a sign of guilt. Instead, assist in procuring medical attention with direct questions and using only necessary communication.
If you know you need medical attention, seek it. And, even if you think nothing’s wrong with you after the accident, get a checkup after the accident.
“Did you call the police?”
Report all accidents to the police. Find out if anyone has called them. If no one has, call them yourself.
The police report could be vital to proving liability in your case. If you refuse to involve the police, opposing attorneys could argue that the accident wasn’t severe enough to warrant legal involvement.
“Will you please give me your license and insurance information?”
The other drivers’ license and insurance information could also make or break your claim. Don’t rely on the police to retrieve this information. Get it yourself. Otherwise, the other driver may skip town, and you could struggle to contact them again. This kind of scenario is even more likely in Las Vegas and other cities with lots of tourists.
Never Say These Five Things After a Car Accident
Never give any indication of your physical health or wellbeing after an accident. You may be injured and not know it yet. Saying, “I’m fine,” or other self-diagnostic statements, like, “I’m not injured,” or “I don’t need a doctor,” could inadvertently undermine your claim for damages.
Experiencing the intensity of a car crash can cause your adrenaline levels to skyrocket. That extra adrenaline in your system can act as an anesthetic and keep you from feeling the pain. With the adrenaline blocking your sense of pain, you could have an injury, even a serious one, and not feel it.
Don’t diagnose yourself at the scene of the accident. Don’t mention anything about your wellbeing unless you need emergency medical attention. In any case, get a physical checkup by a doctor after the accident as soon as possible.
Don’t say “sorry” or “I’m sorry.” “Sorry” is usually an expression of remorse. Saying your sorry could imply that you feel remorse. Feeling remorse could suggest you think you did something wrong. So, saying, “I’m sorry” can be seen as an admission of guilt.
Refraining from uttering “I’m sorry” during basic human interaction after a traumatic experience, like a car accident, can be challenging. Even if you don’t feel guilty and just want to express sympathy for others involved in the accident, an apology can slip out. Be careful when talking to others after an accident. Don’t say sorry. Instead, ask if they need medical attention.
Avoid admitting guilt of any kind, including saying anything along the lines of “my fault,” “my bad,” or “I take responsibility.”
Don’t accept any blame others put on you either. Don’t say “yes,” or “I accept” when someone tries to blame you even if you did something wrong or were partially responsible. Other drivers may have also contributed to the accident. Don’t accept blame. You may not have a complete picture of what happened.
“I think what happened was….”
Along with not accepting other drivers’ accounts of the accident at face value, don’t offer your own explanation either. Your account of what happened could inadvertently absolve a guilty party of blame or shift responsibility onto yourself that you shouldn’t accept.
Many factors influence a crash. Don’t offer any theories about what you think happened in the accident. You won’t have all the facts in the moments after the accident. For instance, maybe one of the other drivers was intoxicated or drowsy.
Anything you say could be used against you in a claim. Say as little as possible. Try, “I don’t know what happened,” or “I’m not sure what happened,” because that’s the truth.
“Let’s not bother with attorneys or police.”
You may be tempted to forgo notifying the police of your accident. That would be a big mistake. A police report can be vital to winning your claim for damages. If you don’t notify the police of the accident, you won’t have a police report to back up your claim.
Avoid saying anything that eliminates the involvement of the police. Don’t say, “let’s handle it on our own,” “it’s okay,” or “I don’t have an attorney.”
After an accident, make these three calls:
- Call for medical assistance (if needed)
- Call the police
- Call a car accident lawyer
Stop the Uncertainty: Hire a Car Accident Attorney to Speak For You
Knowing exactly what to say can be difficult in any situation. That difficulty is amplified after traumatic experiences like car accidents. If you’ve been in a car accident, you should focus on recovering, not on what to say. Let us speak for you. The experienced Las Vegas car accident attorneys at Henness & Haight know how to communicate with law enforcement, insurance companies, and other attorneys. We know just what to say to keep your case moving and help you get all the compensation you deserve.
Don’t wait until after an accident. Contact Henness & Haight to be your attorney today!