Some naturally get nervous around police officers, even if they’re not doing anything wrong. When you’ve been in a car accident, it’s easy to get shaken up and wonder if something you did led to these events. You may wonder if you could have done something to avoid it.
If you’re feeling rattled, relax, and remember you must not leave the scene of an accident without exchanging information. You should call the police to make a report of the incident.
But can anything you say to the police after this accident be used against you? In short, every car accident lawyer will tell you, yes, it can. The insurance companies can too. This is why… you need to know what you should and shouldn’t say after you’ve been in a car accident.
Understanding Miranda Rights
Generally speaking, for most traffic accidents, you don’t need to be concerned about Miranda Rights. Still, they’re important here because you can remain silent and stop answering questions anytime.
Additionally, there’s the matter of “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law” being part of these rights. While these rights are usually read to someone being placed under arrest, they also apply to you when protecting yourself from civil ramifications as well as criminal ones.
What Should You Say After an Accident?
When the police arrive at the accident scene, don’t be afraid to speak to them, even if you think you were to blame. Simply keep your statements factual and brief.
Examples of this include telling them in which direction you were traveling. Be honest without elaborating or speculating. However, know that what you shouldn’t say is far more important.
What You Should Never Say or Do After a Car Accident
Many people wind up saying or doing something they shouldn’t after a car crash. That’s because they’re stunned and dazed about what has just occurred. Despite this, you should commit to memorizing what you shouldn’t do or say when speaking to the police, the other parties involved in the accident, or the insurance companies.
Never Leave the Scene
It’s illegal in New York to leave the scene of the accident without exchanging information or being released.
Don’t Refuse Medical Treatment
You may not think you’re hurt, but many injuries can occur beneath the surface. It’s a wise idea to get checked out and medically cleared for that peace of mind. If an internal injury is detected, you’ll want it documented. You’ll be glad you did if you need compensation for mounting medical bills.
Never Say “Sorry”
Culturally, we tend to throw “sorry” out at every turn. We say “sorry” when we bump into another person while walking down a hallway, even if it’s their fault. It’s no different when we’re in a vehicle, but “sorry” can imply guilt. Even if you feel bad this situation happened, never apologize for it on the scene.
Don’t Skip Calling the Police
In New York, you must file a motor vehicle accident report. With the police there, you can ensure you don’t fail to make this important report. You could have your license suspended if you don’t comply.
Additionally, when speaking with the police on the scene, resist the urge to interrupt. The officer will want to hear from everyone involved in the accident and will listen equally to each of you. Even if the other driver is incorrectly recounting something or blatantly lying, keep quiet until it’s your turn to speak to the police.
Never Post About Your Accident on Social Media
Everyone shares so much of their lives online that you may not even think about it. However, as innocent as that may be, it could come back to haunt you. If you post about the accident and say you’re fine a few days later, this could be used as evidence to deny you medical compensation.
Don’t Record a Statement to an Insurance Adjuster
Likewise, never sign any statements from an insurance company. Insurance companies must be conservative in doling out compensation. They’ll pay accordingly, but if they can find one loophole in your story, they’ll use it as a basis to refuse or limit your claim.
What Should You Say to Your Insurance Company?
Following any accident, even if it was not your fault, you must contact your insurance company. Doing it soon will benefit any claims you make. You should be brief and factual with the insurance agent as you were with the police.
To avoid trouble, you should speak with a car accident attorney that can help support you throughout the entire ordeal in a just and fair way. This is especially helpful if your insurance company requests a recorded statement. You will not want to say or do anything that would reduce the amount of compensation you should receive.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help in This Situation
When you’ve been in a car accident, especially if you’ve been injured, it’s important to get the support you need from an experienced New York lawyer. If someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, you don’t want to say or do the wrong thing and lose the compensation you need to pay those medical bills or recover lost wages.
Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation, making it easy to see if they can assist in your car accident claim. Not every accident will require an attorney, but when dealing with injuries, lost wages, and permanent damage, you must seek representation rather than settle for an amount that doesn’t cover your expenses.