If you are involved in a car accident, you should never admit fault. Even if you believe that you may be at fault, avoid admitting fault to the other driver, the police officer on the scene, or the insurance companies. Should you admit fault in a car accident, you may lose your right to collect compensation from the other driver for the losses you suffered in the accident.
Instead, you have a right to discuss the accident with your attorney. A car accident lawyer can discuss the accident, go over your legal options, and help you file a personal injury claim if you were injured in the accident.
Why You Should not Admit Fault After a Car Accident
There are several reasons why you should not admit fault after a car accident, including:
You May Be Emotionally Traumatized
Even if you are not injured after an accident, the impact can be devastating. As such, you may be emotionally traumatized or not thinking clearly. Instead of trying to determine who is at fault for the accident, you can wait until you remove yourself from the situation and calm down.
Changing Your Statement is Difficult
Once your statement is documented, you may have a difficult time changing it. Police reports and insurance companies depend on your statement to determine how to proceed and how to close the case. Changing your statement can cause suspicion and hurt your credibility.
You Do not Have all the Facts
How the collision occurred may seem apparent at the time; however, you may not have all the facts about the other driver or the circumstances that led to the accident. Your lawyer can help you make a more accurate assessment once the facts surface.
Admitting Fault Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim
New York is a comparative negligence state under New York Civil Practices Law and Rules § 1411. For example, you may be at fault for the accident to a certain degree. As a result, whatever percentage of fault is assigned to you may be deducted from your damages.
You Are not Required To Admit Fault at the Scene of the Accident
You may feel pressure to assign blame at the scene of the accident. The other party may assert that you are at fault; however, you are not required to admit that you are responsible. There are some ways to avoid admitting fault, such as:
- Avoid speaking with the insurance company.
- Allow your attorney to speak to all parties on your behalf.
- Stick to facts that do not incriminate you.
- Avoid embellishing facts or other information.
- Do not state any personal opinions.
According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, you must report crashes that result in damage exceeding $1,000.
Let Your Lawyer Help You with Your Case
Speaking with other parties about your accident can hurt your personal injury claim regardless of how clear-cut your case is. Instead, you can allow your attorney to act on your behalf when communicating with the at-fault party or the insurance company.
You lawyer can help you in the following ways:
Investigate the Accident
You may be unaware of other factors that led to the accident. For instance, the other driver may have been texting, driving recklessly, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Your lawyer can investigate the accident to determine what really happened.
Review all Reports and Statements
Police reports, eyewitness statements, and medical records may also provide more insight into how the accident occurred and who liable for your injuries. Your lawyer can use this type of evidence to build your case and get you the best possible settlement.
Engage with all Parties on Your Behalf
When you get legal representation, you rarely have to speak with anyone directly about your case. Your car accident lawyer can correspond with all parties, including law enforcement, eyewitnesses, the at-fault party, and the insurance company on your behalf. This helps you avoid making statements that other parties could use against you.
Negotiate a Fair Settlement
When the insurance company denies your claim or offers a low settlement, you may feel that you have no other legal options. Having a legal team in your corner can give you more legal leverage. An attorney can work with the insurer to get you fair compensation for your damages.
Before You Talk to the Insurance Company, Consider a Car Accident Lawyer
Morelli Law Firm understands the stress that you may go through after a car accident. We can act on your behalf to seek a fair settlement for your damages. According to New York Civil Practice Law and Rules § 214, you only have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Call our law firm at (212) 751-9800 to get a free case assessment.