Saying “sorry” is a polite and considerate thing to say. For many people it is their natural reaction, especially in stressful situations, to apologize. Unfortunately, when it comes to car accidents, saying “sorry” is not the best idea. We will explain why and offer better alternatives.
Determining Liability in an At-Fault State
Missouri is an “at-fault” state, which means that the person who is found responsible for causing an accident that resulted in injuries will be held liable in a claim. If you get injured in a car accident, you might not get enough coverage from your own insurance company, and instead, you will make a claim with the other motorist’s insurer. You must prove that the other driver is at fault to get a fair settlement.
It is important to note that insurance companies work for a profit. They will do their best to pay the least amount possible to a person making a claim and have well-established strategies for it. Insurance adjusters and attorneys are hired and qualified to help their employers spend less money. We say all this in order to better explain why it is so important to watch your words after being involved in a car accident.
Saying “Sorry” After a Car Accident
The types of evidence that are usually used in a car accident claim include: police reports, medical reports, journal logs, photographs, expert witness accounts, and testimonies. What you say will influence the outcome of your claim, especially if an insurance adjuster convinces you to have a recorder conversation (which you are not required to give).
Saying “sorry”, whether you are at fault or not, will give the insurance company an opportunity to hold you liable for the accident. Why would you say sorry if you had nothing to do with causing the accident? The same goes for “I feel fine, thank you” or “It’s not that bad”. Statements like these will likely hurt you during the negotiations. Additionally, changing your testimony is not advisable.
What to Say Instead of “Sorry”
The simplest answer to this is: nothing. It’s best if you keep the communication with the other motorist’s insurance representatives to a minimum. Sure, you will offer some details about your case, but don’t go further than the basic information.
If you do talk to an adjuster, or even with the other motorist when you are at the scene of the accident, keep liability in mind.
The best course of action after a car accident is to speak with an experienced attorney. Your attorney can handle communicating with the insurance companies and protect your legal right to compensation.