Every year millions of car accidents occur around the country. As recently as 2018, the number of vehicles that were involved in a crash totaled over 12 million. These numbers are astounding and they illustrate how common collisions can be.
If you drive regularly, there is a decent chance that at some point you will be a part of an accident in one way or another. While it can certainly be a traumatic, frustrating experience, there are several important things to keep in mind.
One of those things is that you should never admit fault for an accident. In fact, it is a rule to live by that can actually help you immensely if you are in a crash.
Why You Should Never Admit Fault After an Accident
After many accidents occur, police are called to the scene and write a report of what happened. As you share the event from your perspective, it can feel like lying to not assign fault to yourself if you feel you were to blame.
But keep in mind that you don’t know everything that was at play with the accident. The other driver or drivers, pedestrians, even the weather or road conditions could all have conspired to create the accident.
It is not your job to assign fault to yourself or anyone else. That is the job of the officer at the scene and later insurance adjusters who will investigate the crash to determine who was at fault. All you have to do is plainly describe what happened from your perspective without including condemning language.
Even if the other party is accusing you and telling the officer the accident was completely your fault, remain cool and either ignore their accusations or explain to them that now is not the time to find fault.
If you do admit fault for an accident, either to a police officer, the other party, or later an insurance adjuster, you could be held liable for all damages incurred in the accident. You also could be barred from recovering damages that could help make any necessary repairs or pay medical bills.
Any admission you make will be used against you by insurance companies to keep you from collecting compensation. And an admission found in a police report will likewise be cited by insurance companies to prevent you from being able to recover damages.
Fault is More Complex Than You Think
The determination of who was at fault in an accident is a complex matter and is rarely all or nothing. Florida is a comparative negligence state meaning that if you are partially to blame for an accident the amount of money you can recover is reduced. For example, if you suffered $5,000 in damages from an accident, but were found to be 20 percent at-fault for that accident, the amount you could recover would be $4,000.
However, any admission of fault will be exaggerated by insurance companies (who investigate the crash and determine the percentages of fault) and could keep you from recovering anything at all.
Because there is no way you would be able to assess and calculate the percentage of fault that is yours after an accident, and because it isn’t your job to do so, it is better to leave the issue of fault alone.
What Should You Do After an Accident?
After an accident, it is important that you get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A good personal injury lawyer will be able to handle all issues of fault for you and will even investigate the accident themselves to see who really is to blame.
Your lawyer will also communicate directly with insurance companies so you won’t have to. This will also keep you from making statements that could hurt your case later on as lawyers are trained and know exactly what to say and not to say to adjusters.
Keep in mind that insurance companies are private, for-profit entities and are always looking to minimize the amount of money they have to pay out for accidents. They will use every trick in their large playbooks to assign fault to you or to convince you to settle a claim for as little as possible.
Rather than letting insurance companies get the best of you and stress you out, let a seasoned personal injury lawyer go to bat for you. They will know how best to handle your case and get you the money you need to fix your car and get you back on the road.