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Can I Say "Sorry" After an Accident?

Can I Say "Sorry" After an Accident?

“I’m sorry” is a phrase that is often uttered as a gut reaction in any situation where another person is harmed or even slightly inconvenienced. From bumping into someone in an elevator to interrupting someone mid-sentence, many people have been trained to offer some sort of apology as a sign of good manners and respect. You can imagine, then, that the urge to say I’m sorry can be even greater the event of something as serious as a car accident. But did you know that apologizing at the scene of an accident can end up being a huge mistake?

I’m Sorry = I’m Responsible

Any sort of instinctual apology, while well-intentioned and innocent on the surface, can carry a considerable amount of legal weight as it can be interpreted by the other party and their insurance company as an admission of fault, thereby giving them the ability to limit or deny you coverage for the resulting damages. While it may feel rude not to apologize, it is crucial that you resist the temptation to say “I’m sorry,” “My bad,” or any other remorseful phrase to protect yourself from liability. Since many people enter a state of shock after an accident, it is important you wait to apologize or claim responsibility until a full investigation is conducted. Even if you think you are responsible for your crash, it is possible that the facts may prove otherwise.

I’m Okay = I’m Not Hurt

Another jerk reaction after an accident is to say “I’m fine” or “I’m alright” to the other driver. This can also be damaging as it can be misconstrued to mean that you are unhurt, exposing you to difficulty when pursuing compensation for your injuries. In many cases, symptoms of car accident injuries do not present themselves until days or even weeks after an accident. Indicating that you are alright will cause insurance companies to question the severity of your injuries and jeopardize your ability to receive coverage.

Generally speaking, it is recommended you limit your words at the scene of the accident to the facts and avoid making ambiguous “I think” statements. Any uncertainty in your words can potentially come back to haunt you later and cause problems with your claim. Aside from providing basic facts to police and exchanging insurance information, it is recommended you stay silent and avoid discussing your collision with anyone other than your attorney.

If you live in New Mexico and are in need of legal representation following a car accident, our Albuquerque personal injury lawyer at Michael J. Doyle, Attorney at Law can provide the powerful advocacy you need to maximize your potential settlement. To find out what our 10+ years of legal experience can do for you, call (505) 219-2176 today.


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