As soon as you contact law enforcement after a car accident, exchanging information with the other driver is crucial. This exchange is necessary to determine liability and process insurance claims related to the accident. However, you must keep the conversation focused on sharing contact and insurance details.
This is because the things you say when interacting with the other driver could potentially expose you to liability.
Admission of fault
Anything you say at the accident scene could be used against you in legal proceedings. So, you should avoid expressions of apology or remarks that could actively imply that you accept blame, such as “I didn’t see you” or “I’m sorry.” While it’s natural to want to apologize, these statements might contribute to bearing responsibility for the incident.
Risk of misinterpretation
In the emotional moments following an accident, the other party might misinterpret what you say. These misunderstandings could complicate any legal proceedings and future injury claims. For instance, others might mistake a statement like “I think I’m fine” as you asserting that you’re well, undermining any later injury claims.
Assessing the full details of a car accident often requires a detailed investigation. Under Massachusetts law, the court assigns fault based on the following:
- Evidence at the scene
- Witness testimony
- Police reports
- Violations of road rules
Usually, insurance companies or the police conduct these investigations. In disputes or disagreements over fault, the other party will use anything to hurt your legal case. So, you must keep the conversation focused on sharing your contact and insurance information, not discussing what caused the accident.
You must avoid apologies, speculations or saying anything that could mess up claims. Saying these things could make it look like you’re to blame when you’re not. Ultimately, you should reserve a detailed account of the accident for your legal counsel and law enforcement to protect your rights.