Car accidents can be very tricky situations. No one wants to be at fault. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous drivers and insurance agents as well, that will go to great extremes to show themselves or their clients as above reproach, even if it isn’t true.
Hopefully, you’re a prepared driver and have all your information at the ready, in your car. Your insurance validation, registration forms, and a valid driver’s license are all needed at the scene of a car accident.
Everyone involved in an accident wants to be seen in the most favorable light and what you say at the scene of the accident has a great bearing on the settlement outcome. Even if you’re the victim, things you say to the police and to the negligent driver can have an effect on the trial. It is important to know what to say and how to say it, if you’re ever involved in an accident.
Police will most certainly be called to the scene of an accident. Some accidents are devastating, damaging and even deadly. Police are called by a witness most often and dispatched to help save lives, manage the scene and keep peace. Other accidents are not so damaging and police are only required to provide a valid police report for the insurance claim. Most often, in these cases, the police are called by one of the car accident participants.
It is important to say as little as possible to the other driver involved in the accident. Even if you’re in the right, anything you say can be taken the wrong way. For example, the victim in an accident exits their vehicle and exclaims, “I’m so sorry! I never even saw you!”. This can be construed as an admission of guilt when the other driver may not have been seen because he ran a red light, didn’t have his headlights on or was driving too fast.
It’s also possible that you could be wrong. Emotions and stress are extremely high at the scene of an accident. Accident participants rarely see exactly what happened to cause the accident. Never admit guilt at the accident scene, even if you feel you may be negligent. It is impossible to tell what happened conclusively without careful review of all evidence and a thorough investigation.
Once the police arrive on the scene the official investigation begins. It is always best to cooperate with the police and answer all their questions to the best of your ability. It is equally as important to choose your words carefully and stick strictly to the facts you are aware of.
You do have the choice to not speak at all. You are only legally required to present the officer with your driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration to the vehicle. Saying nothing can result in the officer issuing you a ticket or citation but that can always be dismissed in a later court proceeding.
It’s OK to say you don’t know the answers to some of their or all of their questions. Adrenaline and stress after an accident prevent the participants from fully remembering every single detail until sometime after the accident when they have time to think about it.
If there are special circumstances to your personal story that could result in you being charged with a further crime, it is better to remain silent provide only the required information.
Likewise if there are elements of embarrassment in your personal story. It may be in your best interest to remain quiet until further in the investigation when you have retained the services of a knowledgeable lawyer.
It is imperative to seek representation by a reputable car accident attorney like Moseley Collins immediately after an accident. The sooner you contact our office after your accident, the faster we can get to work for you.