Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is not something people plan
for. As such, it can be a frightening and unfamiliar experience, and one
in which victims injured in wrecks can make a number of mistakes that
ultimately impact their ability to seek financial compensation for their
injuries. Among these mistakes is apologizing – something that should
always be avoided after an accident.
Apologizing may be a natural and polite reaction for many people who find
themselves involved in accidents. After all, saying you are “sorry”
after colliding with something while walking or bumping into another person
is a common social niceity. However, saying “sorry” after a
car accident is never a good idea, as it can complicate your legal journey should you
choose to file a
personal injury claim against the at-fault party responsible for your damages.
At Montee Law Firm, P.C., our Kansas City car accident attorneys have seen
how mistakes made in the aftermath of a wreck can create challenges in
personal injury cases, which is why we wanted to take the time to educate
local residents about taking the proper steps to protect their rights.
Below are a few reasons why saying “sorry” after an accident
is never a wise decision:
Admission of fault – Personal injury cases are focused on proving fault and liability.
In car accidents, victims who say “sorry” or apologize to
another driver or party involved can be said to be admitting to their
role in causing or contributing to an accident. When you say “sorry,”
it can be used to argue that your actions caused a wreck, and provide
the basis for disputing or denying your claim.
Insurance companies will use apologies against you – Insurance companies are businesses first and foremost, and they
are on the side of their policyholders, not yours. This means that they
do everything in their power to use what you say and do against you, including
any apologies you make. When you say “sorry,” you provide
the other driver’s insurance company with firepower to argue that
you caused or contributed to an accident, and that your apology indicates
you did something wrong, such as failing to obey traffic laws or act safely
behind the wheel. Don’t give the insurance company anything they
can use to dispute, deny, or underpay your claim by avoiding apologies
altogether and focusing on getting medical attention, when needed, and
collecting as much information as possible.
You don’t know all the facts – One of the most important reasons to avoid saying “sorry”
after an accident is that you don’t have all the facts surrounding
the incident. Even if you believe you might have been at fault, or at
least that you could have done something to prevent a wreck, there may
be circumstances involved that clearly show the other driver was responsible.
For example, you may not know at the time of your apology that the other
distracted, or that they were
drunk driving. Wait for a police officer to get the facts and make a police report,
or for an experienced attorney to help you investigate the crash to determine
what happened. Don’t paint yourself into a corner by apologizing
when you don’t have all the facts.
Tough path to compensation – Saying sorry and apologizing can ultimately make it more difficult
for you to pursue the financial compensation you rightfully deserve under
the law. Based on your apology, the defendant in your case has an opportunity
to challenge your role in the accident, and allege you contributed in
some way, or caused it entirely. This subjects you to receiving less compensation
than you deserve, or receiving no compensation at all – and places
the burden on you to prove otherwise.
Saying sorry is always a polite and natural response to confrontation,
but is should simply never be said after an accident. Whether you apologized
or not after a crash, you should always work with an experienced attorney
who can address challenges in your case, including apologies, and fight
for the compensation you need.
Contact our legal team to learn more about your case, rights, and the steps ahead.