If you’re in a car accident, you’re likely to feel shaken up. You may feel nervous and upset and you may end up saying things you don’t mean. Worse, you can end up saying things that could hurt your claim and could make it harder for you to secure fair compensation for your injuries and car damage.
So let’s take a look at things you don’t want to say—and what you should be saying, instead.
What not to say: “How could you this?”
Avoid saying this or anything else that accuses the other driver of causing the accident. Even if you’re really, really sure the other driver caused the collision, getting into a dispute about the cause of the accident is not useful. In the worst-case scenario, it can lead to road rage.
Instead stay calm and focus on the facts and what you need to do next.
What not to say: I’m sorry
If the other driver seems injured or distressed, it’s very common to apologize. We’re taught to be polite by apologizing. The problem is that the attorneys and insurance for the other driver can make it seem like your “sorry” was an admission you did something wrong, even if you just meant “I’m sorry this happened.”
Even if it seems strange to not say “sorry,” avoid using this word after an accident.
What not to say: “I’m fine; no need for a doctor.”
After a minor accident, you may not experience any immediate symptoms. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean you’ve escaped injury. After any accident, it’s important to get checked out by a qualified physician, just to be safe.
Until you get seen by a doctor, it’s also important to avoid saying anything like “I’m OK” or “I’m fine.” Again, the insurance company or attorney for the other driver could use this to claim you weren’t injured.
What not to say: “Let’s not report it.”
It can be tempting to decide that you and the other driver can “handle this on our own” and not report the accident to insurance companies or the police. The other driver may even suggest this.
Do not agree. You need to report all accidents to your insurer and police, even if you decide not to file a claim. If you don’t report the accident, the other driver can go right to police and claim you left the scene of the accident.
What not to say: “Here’s what happened to me . . .” (on social media)
In fact, avoid saying anything on social media about your accident. You may even want to avoid posting at all for a few weeks after your collision, even if all your accounts are set to private. If you post something innocent, like old pictures of you smiling, that could be used by insurance companies and attorneys for the other side to claim you’re not very injured.
If you have a social media presence, at least talk to a car accident attorney before posting after your car accident.
What not to say: “Sure, that’s no problem.” (to the insurance adjuster)
The at-fault driver’s insurance company may eventually call you. They may be very kind and compassionate and may want you to sign a settlement. They may offer you compensation or ask you to make a recorded statement.
It’s best not to agree to anything until you’ve talked to a car accident attorney. The goal of the insurance company is to save money. They can do this by offering you a lowball offer. Instead of agreeing to anything, screen your calls and contact an attorney if insurance adjusters are calling you. Your attorney can often handle these calls for you or at least tell you what you should (and shouldn’t) be saying.
These are things you shouldn’t say after a car accident. So what should you say? Here are a few ideas:
- Do you need me to call an ambulance?
- Can I get your insurance and contact information, please?
- Have you called the police yet?
Asking these questions of anyone else who has been in the crash keeps you on track. They’re neutral questions and they make sure you’re taking the steps to protect yourself and anyone injured on the scene.
After a collision, you may want to speak to a car accident attorney. If that’s the case, Flaxman Law Group has offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood, serving the entire South Florida area. Our team has already secured over $100 million for our injured clients and we have over 60 years of combined experience.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, we’d be happy to offer you a free, no obligation consultation about your situation. Just call us at 866-352-9626 at any time or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.