If you’ve ever been involved in a car accident before, then you’re probably well aware of just how tense and emotionally strenuous an accident scene can be. So, what many people do to try to de-escalate the situation before it goes out of control is to try to break the tension with their good nature and friendliness. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, a lot of these people also don’t realize just how much their actions and words could have an impact on their car accident claim.
Insurance Companies Are Watching
When you are involved in an accident, the insurance policies of both companies will conduct an independent investigation of the incident in order to determine what actually happened, and then determine a percentage of fault that will be assigned to both parties. However, the company that seems as though it will be at fault will usually look for any possible way in which to lower this fault percentage in order to reduce the amount of money they’ll have to pay out.
This is where your actions and words come into play. While it’s perfectly okay to try to be friendly and cordial at an accident scene, apologizing or giving the appearance of taking responsibility for an accident is often taken as an admission of guilt by insurance companies. When a driver admits fault, the insurance company will try to assign the blame for the accident to them and absolve their financial responsibility. And here’s the worst part: they’ll try to do this even if the driver who apologized never actually admitted fault and the accident was clearly not their fault.
How do insurance companies know you’ve apologized? Simple. They’ll take statements from each driver involved and ask questions about what you said while at the scene of the accident. These questions may appear innocuous, but more often than not the insurance company representative asking them is trying to figure out if someone at the accident scene apologized in order to assign them fault for the incident.
So how can you protect yourself? The easiest way is just to watch what you say. It’s okay to be friendly and cordial, but under no circumstances should you apologize. Even if you believe you are at fault or have a share of the fault for the incident, your insurance company may be able to discover some facts that prove you actually were faultless. However, if you apologize at the scene, you may be surrendering your faultless status if you’re not careful.
It’s strongly advised you contact a skilled Kansas City car accident attorney if you or a loved one have been seriously hurt after a car accident. Call Presley & Presley, LLC today at 816.931.4611 for a free initial case evaluation!