If You Say "Sorry," You May Be Sorry
Many people grew up learning about the "Golden Rule" and following Miss Manner's advice to be polite and courteous at all times. While it is good advice for life, it is not so good advice following a motor vehicle accident or any accident that causes property damage or personal injuries. Indeed, saying "I'm sorry" is an admission of fault and can have serious ramifications.
When you apologize following an accident, the other party, police officer, insurance provider, etc. can enter that into the record of the accident. They will most certainly use that simple, polite phrase to assign the fault of the accident to you so that they don't have to pay for the claim.
Further, accidents happen quickly and it is highly unlikely that you know all the factors that contributed to the crash. Was the other party intoxicated? Were they speeding? Was there vehicle in proper working order? You simply won't know all this information in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Moreover, accidents are stressful. Adrenaline and other hormones can distort your memory and affect your thought process.
If you have ever seen Dragnet you're familiar with Joe Friday's line, "Just the facts, ma'am." Following an accident, aside from asking parties to the accident if they require medical attention, the only thing you should provide are cold, hard facts. Give the other party your name, contact information, and the contact information of your insurance provider. That's it, and nothing more.
Do not engage in witty banter. Don't ask how their day was. Don't try and bond over the fact that your bumper stickers indicate your children go to the same school. Don't tell them you plan to sue them, or that you know so and so. If you say nothing, then nothing can be used to disparage your claim or to release them from their culpability in causing the motor vehicle accident.
And, the same goes for the other party's insurance provider. You are under no legal obligation to even take their call, and indeed, we highly recommend having any calls from the other party's insurance provider or attorney routed directly to the attorney representing you in your injury lawsuit.
Contact Welmaker Injury Law at (210) 828-6033 for more information about the steps you should take when preparing for an injury lawsuit in San Antonio. It's our pleasure to help you prepare for the road ahead.