Experiencing any sort of motor vehicle accident is a scary occurrence. As your first instinct, you might apologize to the other people involved because you are trying to be kind and polite. In fact, you might genuinely feel sorry for any injury or property damage.
However, saying sorry is a big mistake. Your apology after a vehicular or pedestrian collision complicates the pursuit of reasonable compensation from the responsible party.
Accidentally accepting responsibility
Georgia law allows for a contributory negligence defense in personal injury cases. That means, if you were partially at fault for the accident, then a court may reduce the damages you recover from the lawsuit in proportion to your contribution of fault.
An apology may appear like you take responsibility for some of the injuries and part of the accident.
Inadvertently admitting fault
In the moments following the accident, your surroundings and thoughts become chaotic. In the midst of the confusion, you may think that you caused the accident. However, you may not know the full story or have enough information to fully admit fault. If you say sorry, it may appear that you’re admitting fault, even if the facts later show you were not at fault.
Additionally, you have a lot of pressing matters to deal with in the aftermath of the crash, as emergency services arrive at the scene. Making any sort of apology can detract from your focus with police officers and medics.
By keeping to yourself after an accident and carefully censoring what you say, you can maximize your chances of getting fair compensation for any damage or injuries you suffered.
Always report the accident
Sometimes when an accident is relatively minor, people want to just “exchange information” and not bother calling the police. That is a mistake.
If you feel even the slightest bit shaken up by the collision, ALWAYS call the police. The reason: when individuals just “exchange information” between themselves rather than calling police, the risk of getting bad information from the other driver increases exponentially. So always call the police to come to the scene if you have any sensation of injury. Also, tell the police officer if you think you are hurt, even if you don’t need an ambulance to take you to the hospital. It helps your personal injury case if the police report indicates that you are injured.