After a Car Crash, Keep Quiet to Protect Yourself | What To Do After a Car Accident
There is an old saying made popular by Baby Boomers that says “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” Grown-ups know that’s simply not true. The wrong words said at the wrong time can create a legal quagmire.
Let’s say for example you’re driving in stop-and-go traffic on Big Beaver Road in Troy on a weekday afternoon. It’s tedious already. People stop short. Others don’t signal. It’s warm and that’s distracting enough. Plus your mind is on those new Tori Burch shoes you bought from Nordstrom at Somerset instead of paying full attention to the road.
You’re on autopilot because you’ve driven this stretch of pavement 1,000 times.
You know what’s next. As brake lights light up suddenly, you’re not prepared (because a text is coming through) and your car kisses the bumper of the car in front of you.
Your car is fine. The other person is a fussbudget, is very unpleasant, obnoxious and overbearing and is screaming how this is “all your fault!!!”
Most people will give this knee-jerk response: “I’m sorry,” or maybe “I’ll take care of this.”
Wrong answer. Even though you might feel responsible because you were distracted by the text, you’re putting yourself in a weakened position legally if the other driver is litigious and wants to embellish what really happened.
Saying sorry “might not be the best thing to do,” Natalie Dupuis, an executive with RBC Insurance, said in an interview with the Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto.
“Such a statement could be interpreted as an admission of guilt when police and investigators determine fault for the collision. It could be the beginning of an expensive mistake – whether it comes up again in terms of setting insurance rates or as testimony in a court case.”
If you are in an accident, don’t go about your merry way. You must contact your insurance company, even if you have PLPD and even if you don’t want to file a claim for repairs.
“A major misconception that people have is that if they alert their insurance company of an accident, their rates will automatically rise,” Dupuis said. “If you were not at fault, your rates should not go up.”
At an accident scene, DO:
– Get insurance information and a phone number from the driver of the other vehicle, regardless of who’s at fault.
– Ask witnesses for their phone numbers.
– Accept medical treatment or a ride to the hospital if you feel hurt in any way.
At an accident scene, DO NOT:
– Tell anyone you were at fault, even if you think you are. If it gets to court, it will be up to the other side to prove you caused damage.
– Sign anything other than a police report.
– Offer to pay the other person money for anything. This could be construed in court as an admission of guilt.
After a car accident
After an accident, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Michigan car accident attorney right away. An experienced Michigan car accident lawyer can assist you in defending your rights and putting the law on your side.
Each of our car accident attorneys in Michigan offers a free consultation and case evaluation. Contact us today by calling (877) 737-8800 toll-free. An experienced car accident lawyer is waiting to speak with you about your legal matters.
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