If you are involved in a car accident, you should never admit fault. 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. Even if you believe that you may be at fault, avoid admitting this to the other driver, the police officer on the scene, or the insurance companies.
Instead, you have a right to discuss the accident with your attorney when you hire one to represent you. A car accident lawyer from our firm can discuss the accident with you, go over your legal options, and help you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit if you were injured in the accident and qualify for damages.
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 severely injured after an accident, the impact can be psychologically devastating. As such, you may be emotionally traumatized or not thinking clearly in the aftermath. This can cause you to make inaccurate statements or even falsely apologize for the collision when you were not the one at fault.
Instead of trying to determine who is at fault for the accident right away, wait until you remove yourself from the situation and calm down. You can let law enforcement and our team review the evidence to find out what happened. If the police officers at the scene ask you any questions, it is best to keep your answers as simple as possible and avoid offering your opinion.
You Do Not Have All the Facts
In some cases, 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. You could be missing critical information about factors that contributed to the collision.
For example, the other driver may have been distracted behind the wheel, which is not always easy to recognize from your own vehicle. A lawyer from our team can help you make a more accurate assessment once the facts surface.
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.
This is why when our firm represents a client, we typically handle all communications between them and other parties involved. Our goal is to limit the possibility of any statements you make being used to undermine your case.
Admitting Fault Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim
New York is a contributory negligence state under New York Civil Practice Law and Rules § 1411. This means you could still collect compensation even if you were responsible for the accident to a certain degree. However, whatever percentage of fault is assigned to you may be deducted from your damages.
For example, you may be 10 percent at fault for the collision. As a result, you may only receive compensation for a portion of your expenses and losses from the other party.
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.
This does not mean you shouldn’t call the police or file an official collision report. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV), you must report crashes that result in damage exceeding $1,000.
Let a Car Accident Lawyer From Our Firm 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 from our firm to act on your behalf when communicating with the at-fault party or the insurance company.
A lawyer from our team 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. We 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 is liable for your injuries. We can use this type of evidence to build your case and seek the best possible settlement.
Engage With All Parties on Your Behalf
When you get legal representation from our team, you rarely have to speak with anyone directly about your case. A car accident lawyer from our team can correspond with all parties on your behalf, including law enforcement, eyewitnesses, the at-fault party, and the insurance company. 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 support for your case. An attorney on our team can work with the insurer and fight to get you fair compensation for your damages, using your ability to file a lawsuit as legal leverage.
Talk to Our Car Accident Lawyers Before the Insurance Company
Our team at Morelli Law Firm understands the stress that you may be going 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 generally, so we advise you not to wait. Call us today to get a free case assessment.