Many people apologize after a car accident, even when they were not to blame. A car crash is a traumatic event, particularly when motorists end up injured. It’s a fairly natural reaction to blurt out “I’m sorry.” However, car accident victims should ask themselves does saying “I’m sorry” after a car accident admit fault in Maryland?
It’s important to talk to a Baltimore car accident lawyer soon after your car wreck and prior to talking to an insurance adjuster. At the Law Office of Randolph Rice, we can advise you of what to say and not what to say and deal with the insurance company on your behalf.
How Apologizing Can Harm Your Maryland Car Accident Claim
Although apologizing is not the same as telling the other driver you were to blame, the other driver’s insurance agent may argue this was an admission of fault. Avoid apologizing after an accident in Maryland. Say as little as possible beyond outlining what happened in the crash to the investigator.
Saying “I’m sorry” after a car accident does not admit fault in Maryland but the other side’s insurance company can argue it does. You will face an additional and unnecessary hurdle while making a claim if you apologize. Here are some reasons why saying sorry can harm your car accident injury case.
1. Saying sorry can give a misleading impression of the accident
The moments when the dust settles after a car accident can be chaotic. It’s often hard to know what happened or who was at fault. Apologizing can give the other driver an inaccurate impression that you are accepting blame. Leave the issue of culpability to the police, insurance adjusters and the attorneys.
2. Apologizing can be used against you
In a criminal case, defendants are given a Miranda warning at the time of their arrest that anything they say can be used against them. This does not happen when police are taking witness statements after an accident unless a driver has been arrested. However, apologizing can be used against you later in a civil case, whether you say sorry to the police officer or the other driver.
By apologizing you are unintentionally giving the other side’s insurance company the option to construe your apology as an admission of guilt. Insurance companies look for any way to protect their bottom lines and to avoid paying out on a claim. If you say sorry, an insurance company can argue the apology is an “admission” that protects their policyholder from liability. It makes your claim more difficult and adds an unnecessary hurdle.
3. An apology can be taken out of context
Beware of making any kind of apology at the accident scene. You may be saying you are sorry the crash has left the other driver running late for work. This can be twisted into an apology for causing the accident by the other side.
Should You Say Sorry if You Think the Accident was Your Fault?
You may believe you caused a car wreck on the roads of Maryland. You hit a car from behind or pulled out in front of another vehicle onto a busy highway. Even if you were sure you caused the wreck you should never admit fault or say you were sorry.
Drivers are seldom in possession of all of the facts at the accident scene. The driver you hit could have slammed on the brakes fast and been drunk or distracted. Or investigators may find out the other driver was speeding. The law of Maryland is strict about contributing to your accident. You may not have grounds to make a claim. But you should never weaken your case from the outset by admitting regret or apologizing.
Dangers of Discussing Your Car Accident Case on Social Media?
Even if you do everything correctly at the accident scene, you should never take to social media in the hours or days after a wreck to discuss details of the case or to apologize to people involved. The car accident lawyers and the insurance company for the other driver can and will check your social media accounts. Don’t discuss anything about your case on social media. Ideally, disable your accounts or steer clear of discussing the accident or your injuries. Don’t reach out to the other driver or converse via texts, email, or social media.
What Should I Say to the Other Driver After a Maryland Car Accident?
After a car accident in Maryland, ask the other driver if he or she is OK. Remain calm, even if the other driver caused the crash. Rather than yelling or talking about blame, check on the other driver’s welfare. Call 911 for an ambulance if people sustained injuries.
Exchange names, contact details, and insurance details with the other driver if he or she is in a fit state to do so. Get as many details as possible including multiple phone numbers and the identity of his or her employer. Call the police and take pictures of the scene, and even video with your smartphone. Talk to witnesses by the roadside. Call the police. Often Maryland State Police will attend an accident if it’s on an Interstate or a major road. State troopers attend accidents day in, day out. They know all of the most important questions to ask. Answer all questions accurately and truthfully. Don’t apologize to a police officer. If you are unsure about an answer say “I don’t know.” Don’t try to interpret the accident and apportion blame. Don’t highlight things you could have done better to avoid a crash. That’s the police officer’s job. Keep your account short, to the point, and stick to the facts.
Don’t be argumentative at an accident scene or interrupt when the police officer talks to the other driver. Your behavior at the accident scene can be important later in your lawsuit.
It’s a good idea to write down everything you recall about the crash soon afterward. This note can be useful in any future insurance claim. Ask the police officer how you can obtain a copy of the accident report. You can obtain accidents reports from the Baltimore Police Department and other jurisdictions online.
Talk to a Baltimore Car Accident Injury Lawyer After a Crash
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we can answer your questions like does saying “I’m sorry” after a car accident admit fault in Maryland? The sooner you talk to a Baltimore personal injury lawyer after a wreck in Maryland, the sooner we can protect your rights and protect you from making mistakes. When injured motorists take on insurance companies, it’s often an unfair fight. The insurance adjuster is trained to get you to admit liability and to contradict your statements to undermine your credibility in a future lawsuit. Please contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today for a free consultation.