Published On: Sun, Jun 2nd, 2019

3 Reasons To Be Quiet After A Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident is traumatic. Even in minor accidents, it’s common to experience whiplash and other injuries that seem minor but can take many months and years to heal. Emotional trauma, like PTSD and anxiety, can take an equal amount of time to heal.

While physical injuries hurt your body, talking too much can hurt your case. After a car accident, every statement you make to others can be used against you later on. Even if you’re certain you caused the crash, you shouldn’t openly admit fault. It’s not simply a matter of morality. You have no way of knowing whether other drivers contributed to the crash as well. By admitting fault, you could lessen the chances of shared responsibility.

photo/ Floris via pixabay

After a crash, you don’t have the perspective to determine whether you were entirely at fault. Here’s why you should only say enough to exchange information and make sure everyone is okay:

  1. Someone might be filming you with a body or car camera

Other people involved in the crash could be recording the incident with a phone, a dash cam, or a camera on their body. Plenty of people routinely record from their dash to protect themselves against unlawful traffic stops and accidents.

Don’t assume a recording is inadmissible unless you’re told you’re being recorded. In a single-party consent state, only one person needs to know a camera is rolling.

If you admit fault on the scene, and deny having done so later, a recording of you admitting fault could result in assigning you more of the blame. Avoid using the words, “I’m sorry,” and find another way to express your concern for others.

  1. Insurance adjusters will be looking for a reason to deny your claim

Don’t make any statements to the other driver’s insurance company. When you file a claim, they’ll look for a reason to pay you as little as possible. Any statements you make can be used to reduce or deny your claim.

For example, say you get into a conversation with the insurance adjuster about your injuries and you tell them your back is injured. They might say, “yeah, but you were probably back on your feet in a few days, right?” You might be tempted to respond in the affirmative, since your pain isn’t as bad as it could be. Your back hurts, but you’ll survive. Unfortunately, that’s the wrong approach to take with an insurance adjuster.

Insurance adjusters aren’t there to console you, even though they might express concern for your injuries. They’re looking for a way to trap you into downplaying your injuries so they don’t have to pay up.

Don’t put yourself in a position to be trapped by seemingly casual conversation. You might accidentally downplay or misrepresent your injuries, which can ruin your case. Never speak to the other driver’s insurance company without consulting a lawyer first.

  1. Social media posts can and will be used against you

After an accident, be especially quiet on social media. As soon as possible, turn all past Facebook posts to friends only. The insurance company you file a claim with will look through all of your posts to find evidence that discredits your claims, especially if you’re claiming emotional distress.

It’s tempting to express your thoughts and feelings about your accident to your friends on social media, but don’t do it. If you need to talk about it, talk to someone on the phone and not in a place that’s available to the public. It’s a good idea to be quiet on social media even if your posts are set to “friends only.” Someone might take screenshots of your posts, and depending on the details of your case, someone might subpoena the court for access to your posts.

The problem with social media is that a single photo of you smiling standing next to a friend can be used to prove you’re not suffering emotional distress. It doesn’t matter if you posed with a fake smile for the photo and immediately went back to moping around your room. If your social media profiles make it look like you’re enjoying life, you can say goodbye to your claims of emotional distress. Some people have gotten their claims dismissed because other people posted happy birthday messages on their Facebook timeline.

Mum’s the word

Saying too much can cost you your case. Don’t risk losing out on recovering the compensation you deserve by sharing too much information with the wrong people. Always consult a car accident lawyer before talking to anyone, especially an insurance adjuster.

Author: Anna Johansson

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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