When you start out your day, you never think it’ll end with a car crash, but they happen every day. In those moments after a collision, what you say and how you act can affect your potential claim down the line. It seems unfair to ask people who are shaken up at best, or critically injured at worst, to mind their Ps and Qs in the immediate time after a wreck, but it’s important that you don’t admit fault.
It can be a hard rule to follow, especially if you’re the type of person to say “I’m sorry” when someone else bumps into you. Those words, however, can be used against you. The moment you allegedly claim responsibility for a car accident, you automatically lose any bargaining chip you may have to minimize or eliminate your liability. Even the most seemingly innocuous conversation can be construed as an admission. Saying things like “I’m sorry” or even “are you okay?” have often been used to show a driver was to blame.
When police arrive to investigate the scene and take statements from each involved driver or witness, your words may end up in an official written police report, making it harder to dispute. After all, “that’s not how I meant it” isn’t the strongest legal argument.
Other tips to follow to protect yourself after a wreck
- Remain at the scene of the accident, as leaving can result in criminal charges for hit and run.
- Call the police to report the crash and request emergency medical services (EMS) if there were any injuries.
- Take photos of the surrounding scene, damage to each vehicle, position of the vehicles, and roadway.
- Avoid conversation with the other drivers or passengers beyond stating that you’ve contacted the police and EMS.
- Be polite, but do not offer unnecessary information or details to law enforcement that can imply you are at fault – and avoid speculating about what happened.
- Keep your statements to EMS about your injuries and how you feel, and the same goes for any other medical professional from whom you seek treatment.
- Get the names and contact information for all witnesses at the scene and note whether any traffic or other cameras might be in the area that could help prove you were not at fault.
- If you are issued a traffic citation, be certain you hire an attorney to handle it for you.
Let your insurance company and your car accident attorney investigate
Insurers don’t want to lose money needlessly, so your insurer may choose to investigate what happened. Your Tulsa personal injury attorney will, too. When a serious car accident results in serious injuries or wrongful death, we will want to see:
- The accident scene, including skid marks from which they can determine the speed of each vehicle
- Damage to each vehicle, which can help explain which auto made the impact
- Any vehicle defects among the automobiles involved, such as faulty brakes that can help show someone else might have been to blame
- Histories of other drivers and medical records that might reveal a pattern of negligent or criminal behavior behind the wheel.
One thing to note is that more and more people are using “safe driver” apps through their phones to get a discount on their insurance. We can use this information to help build your case, especially if the driver’s history indicates texting-and-driving, or making a lot of hard stops. (Hard stops can be a sign of braking too late.)
If you were injured in a car accidents in or near Tulsa, contact Biby Law Firm before making a recorded statement to any insurance company. We care about helping our clients recover quickly by working to secure the best settlement possible for their injuries. Schedule your free consultation by calling 918.416.6351 or filling out our contact form.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.