Do Not Apologize At An Accident

Unfortunately, a car accident is generally not the time to use your best manners. Common decency is often used by insurance companies to impute fault. So, be aware that those at-scene statements are admissible in court later. Your kindness can most definitely be used against you!

Many Injury Victims Do Not Understand 

In many of our personal injury cases, the client will be very upset that the at-fault party did not apologize to them at the scene. Well, there is good reason for that. Most likely, they have been burned in the past or simply know how insurance companies work to avoid paying claims. You cannot take it personally.

Statements = Fault

In the chaos of an accident, there can be confusion as to fault. It is also possible that there is comparative fault (one person might be 80% at fault and another 20% at fault). People are confused and also trying to be thoughtful so the drivers might say, “I’m so sorry! Are you okay?”

Unfortunately, those statements are very helpful for insurance companies. Even when facts look clear, statements that look apologetic are used in lawsuits as acknowledgment of fault. For this reason, it is critical that you wait for law enforcement to arrive and do a thorough investigation. Let the accident report govern the determination of fault.

If you have been in a car accident, it is important to follow the law as far as information you have to share with the other drivers. However, that doesn't mean you should be statements about being sorry or other statements that could be misinterpreted as admitting fault. Insurance adjusters will use that to claim you were at fault even if the police report appears otherwise. It could force you into a lawsuit to defend yourself.

Type of Statements

Statements made by the drivers should only be objective fact-specific comments that are required to be answered by an investigating officer (i.e. do you have insurance, were you the driver of the vehicle, etc.). However, if there is a potential criminal investigation (reckless driving, DUI, or other), it might be best to say nothing until you consult with an attorney. The scene of accidents can be risky business from a liability perspective as well as a criminal defense perspective. 

Necessary Statements or Information

While apologizing or making small talk should be probably be avoided, do not forget to exchange the necessary information and make a report as required under the law – RCW 46.52.030. Be aware that this statute is being changed to reflect 2024 legislative changes and you should check back on this link as updates are made.

If you have been in an injury accident in western Washington, give our attorneys a call for a free consultation. We are here 7 days a week. (360) 792-1000

Ryan and Jen Witt of Witt Law Group, Kitsap County defense and personal injury lawyers

Get help now

Whether you choose to handle your case alone or engage the Witt Law Group, being informed and prepared is essential. Early involvement of an attorney can significantly impact your chances of a fair recovery, allowing you to focus on healing while we handle negotiations with insurance adjusters to secure fair compensation for your injuries.

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