Avoid These Phrases If You’ve Been Involved In A Car Accident
Nevada uses an at-fault system when it comes to car accidents. This means that law enforcement officers and insurance companies use evidence from the scene of the accident to determine who was at fault in the accident. The at-fault party’s insurance company is responsible for paying bills and damages that result from the accident.
Although this can be a relief if you’ve been the victim of a car accident that was not your fault, it also creates an unfortunate incentive for drivers and their insurance company to twist your words in an attempt to make you at fault for the accident so they can avoid making any payments.
After any car accident, your Las Vegas car accident lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to help recover damages, but the amount of compensation you may be eligible to receive, and how straightforward your case is, may depend heavily on what you say immediately after your collision.
Insurance Adjusters & Statements
It’s common to have difficulty thinking, emotional shock, injuries, and physical pain after a car accident, all of which can prevent you from being able to think logically. Anything you say to a police officer may be included in the official accident report. You can be sure that insurance adjusters will take their time picking through the police report, recorded statements, or any witness statements in order to deny your claim outright or reduce the amount of compensation they are willing to offer. Your Las Vegas car accident lawyer recommends avoiding the following statements after an accident:
It Was My Fault
Admitting fault or liability after an accident is unwise because the facts may show that you did not actually cause the accident. But claiming you were at fault at the scene of the accident can jeopardize any compensation you may receive and may even prompt the other drivers to make a claim against your insurance company. Allow the police officers and investigators to determine who was at fault without your admission. Stick to the facts and avoid giving your opinions about what happened.
It’s natural to want to apologize in this kind of situation, but other drivers and insurance adjusters can twist this statement into an admission of responsibility. Instead, provide support and empathy to other victims of the accident. If someone is injured, tell them that you understand they are in pain and that the ambulance is on its way.
We Don’t Need To Call the Police
It’s tempting to brush aside an accident and get back to normal life, but Nevada law requires that car accidents that cause injury or death are reported to law enforcement. Accidents that only cause property damage do not need to be reported. If you suggest not calling the police, an insurance agent might question whether you were hiding intoxication or avoiding a drug test. Insurance companies will believe that a failure to contact the police meant you were not injured.
I Feel Fine
Everyone involved with the accident is going to ask you how you are feeling. If you put on a brave face and pretend you are not in pain, you may be accused of faking or exaggerating any injuries, which can weaken your insurance claim. Tell the EMTs and police officers that your neck hurts, that you feel dizzy, or that you feel bruised, if that is the case.
Insurance adjusters are always on the lookout for anything that might seem like insurance fraud. Anything you say about your injuries, or apparent lack of injuries, can jeopardize an insurance claim. Be honest and consistent, and stick to the facts of how you are feeling. If something hurts, be sure to say so to your Las Vegas car accident lawyer and any professionals who ask.
Allow the EMTs and doctors to diagnose your injuries even if you have medical experience. It’s important to seek immediate medical care because even seemingly minor injuries can actually be significant injuries. For example, it can take days or even weeks for whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, and other injuries to become fully apparent.
Don’t Worry About It
Being dismissive about your injuries after an accident may not be as direct as “I feel fine,” but can still make an insurance adjuster question whether your injuries are being exaggerated or were pre-existing. For example, if your wrist is hurting and a paramedic asks you if you need help, say yes instead of “don’t worry about it” because an insurance adjuster will interpret dismissiveness as an indication that your wrist pain was already present before the accident.
What Should I Say after an Accident?
If you think you may have made the wrong statements after your car accident, consult with an experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyer who can provide legal representation on your behalf. It’s also smart to work with a lawyer if you have to give a deposition or testify in court about what happened.
Discuss Your Car Accident with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers have developed a reputation for being one of Nevada’s top rated personal injury law firms. Our attorneys have collectively won over $500 million for our clients! Trust us to work with your case and help you understand your legal rights and options. We are prepared to negotiate on your behalf with insurance adjusters and take your case to court if necessary. Contact our office to schedule your confidential case review.