What you say at the crash scene could affect your potential claim for compensation.
Car accidents are disorienting and painful. Knowing what to do and how to react after a crash is hard.
When you are injured, the less you say at the crash site, the better for your case. The following are the top 6 things you should never say after a car accident.
If you were already injured in an accident that wasn't your fault, it is important that you protect your rights and review your potential legal options as soon as possible.
Contact Lawter & Associates Attorneys at Law PLLC to see how an experienced Oklahoma car accident lawyer can help you.
6 things you should avoid saying after a car accident
- "I'm sorry." It's just two little words, but if you say "I'm sorry" at the crash site to another driver or the police, expect the insurance company to twist that into an admission of fault and a way to blame you for the collision.
- "I'm okay." or "I'm not that hurt; I don't need to see a doctor." Always see a doctor after a car accident for a thorough medical examination and get an official medical report of your crash injuries. Even if you feel "fine," you could have a severe injury - like internal bleeding, a hairline bone fracture, concussion, or spinal cord damage - and not know it. Car accidents often cause delayed pain injuries like whiplash. The pain may take days or weeks to develop. But if you say, "I'm okay," or do not see a doctor after an accident, the insurance company could argue that your injuries are "not that bad." This is an excuse to reject your claim or minimize your settlement.
- "We don't need to call the police." Yes, you do. When you file a claim, the insurance company wants to see a lot of evidence. This includes a medical record of your injuries and a police accident report. If you miss one of these, the uphill battle for compensation will be steep. Police crash reports are an officer's narrative of the accident. The document is used to determine fault and directly impacts your injury compensation. In Oklahoma, adjusters use comparative negligence to divide fault among everyone involved in an accident. A crash victim's compensation is then reduced by their "fault" or contribution to causing the accident. So, for example, if an injured driver's actions contributed 10 percent to a crash, their final settlement or verdict would be reduced by 10 percent. The insurance company knows the more they blame you, the less they have to pay.
- "It was a minor car accident." When it comes to car accident compensation, the size of the accident doesn't matter. What's important is the severity of your injuries. Under the right circumstances, studies show that serious and disabling injuries can result from seemingly "minor" low-speed crashes. Even a so-called "fender bender" has the potential to cause a herniated or slipped disc, whiplash, or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
- Anything on social media. Do not discuss the details of your car accident or the extent of your injuries with anyone except your doctor and your lawyer. Posting to social media and talking about the crash creates evidence that the insurance company and its lawyers may be able to twist around and use against you during settlement negotiations. The less you say, the more options your attorney has to pursue maximum compensation.
- Anything to the at-fault driver's insurer. There is nothing that requires you to talk to the other driver's insurance agent - so do not talk to them without talking to your attorney first. All insurance agents - even the one you pay - protect the company's bottom line by rejecting claims and reducing settlements. They may seem friendly, but they're likely trying to lead you into saying the words and phrases they need to hear to reduce or deny your claim.
Our car accident attorneys can help you get back on your feet.
If you were injured in an accident and said any of the "top 6 things not to say," do not panic. You may still have a strong claim for compensation, but you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.
To find out how much your claim is worth and learn more about your potential legal options, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Our law firm has recovered millions in damages for injured accident victims and knows how to get results in Oklahoma. We have offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and a member of our team is available to hear from you anytime, day or night.