Car accidents can be incredibly disorienting and overwhelming, even if they didn't actually cause much damage. Because many people have been trained to be polite, they might be inclined to say “sorry” to any other driver involved in the accident, regardless of whether or not the crash was their fault. However, something as simple as saying “sorry” could have huge consequences when it comes to someone's ability to secure compensation for property damage and medical bill coverage after the collision.
Following an accident, you may have the inclination to say “sorry,” as in “I'm sorry we both had to experience this.” However, any nearby witnesses to the accident will hear you apologizing and assume the crash must have been your fault. If the police arrive and your “sorry” is recorded in the police report, the insurance company may look at this later and leverage it as evidence you're admitting to fault, even if you weren't responsible for the accident.
Even if the insurance company can't entirely pin the crash on you, an apology can be used to skirt liability away from their policyholders and place some responsibility on you. For example, if you are found partially liable for the accident, even if the other driver was fully responsible, the other driver's insurance company will only have to pay a percentage of the damage.
If you do think you share some responsibility for the accident, the truth is you don't have all the facts surrounding your accident. For example, say you were looking at your phone for a brief moment when the accident occurred. You may not have seen the other driver was also looking at their phone or glancing into the back seat to speak to a passenger. After a crash, it's best to keep this in mind and to let law enforcement, insurance adjustors, and experienced personal injury attorneys conduct the necessary investigations to determine liability.
After a crash, if you want to show you empathize with the other person, ask them if they're doing okay. If they're not doing well, ask them if they would like you to call an ambulance on their behalf. You can still show you care for their health and wellbeing without potentially putting yourself at risk of being misunderstood.
If you need help filing a claim or appealing a denied claim, don't hesitate to give us a call. Inman & Tourgee prides itself on being a full services law team that can provide clients with skilled Rhode Island car accident attorneys. We are committed to providing quality legal representation at a fair price. Let us see what we can do for you.
Contact us at (401) 823-9200 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation with us today.