In the immediate aftermath of any vehicle collision, an injured person may try to deescalate the situation by admitting mistakes or simply apologizing for the situation. While these are not inherently wrong things to do, they can in certain situations create risk in the event of a legal claim. A local motor vehicle crash attorney could help someone understand how admitting fault in an Atlanta car accident case could negatively impact their claim.
Is it a Mistake to Admit Fault at the Scene of a Car Accident?
Admitting fault at the scene of a car accident in Atlanta is not always a mistake. In some instances, it is clear who is at fault. In these situations, the at-fault party should accept responsibility or risk losing credibility before a jury. More often than not, however, at-fault drivers and their insurance companies deny responsibility and look for excuses. When insurance companies and defendants deny the obvious, this can increase the value of a case.
Sometimes, the at-fault party wants to accept responsibility, but the insurance company does not allow it. Such cases often result in increased verdicts as the jury is angered by a party’s failure to accept responsibility.
In general, if a driver has a basis for accepting fault at the scene of an accident, they should do so. However, an individual should not accept responsibility for anything that occurred, in the interest of creating goodwill. Therefore, drivers should be honest and only accept what they know to be true.
The Risks of Apologizing at the Scene of a Car Accident
Apologizing at the scene of a car accident could pose little risk to an injured individual who simply wants to be compassionate or acknowledge that they are sorry the accident transpired. Collisions often occur by accident and without intent. However, it is important for at-fault drivers to own responsibility for them. Simply being kind to another individual who was involved in the same regrettable experience is unlikely to harm a subsequent case.
Defendant drivers and insurance companies often do not accept fault, express remorse, or show concern for people who suffer injuries in an accident. Juries tend not to be receptive to defendants who deny facts or fail to express concern for the injured party.
Giving Recorded Statements Following a Car Wreck in Atlanta
Insurance companies often ask injured parties for recorded statements after car accidents because information provided during such statements could be used against claimants later. There is no reason for insurance companies to not request recorded statements since providing a statement poses a risk to the injured individual alone. Recorded statements allow insurance companies to use an injured person’s statements against them if their memory of the incident changes or if their injuries evolve.
As such, a driver should never give a recorded statement to another motorist’s insurance company before consulting with an attorney. An individual is under no obligation to provide a recorded statement to another driver’s insurance company after an accident. In fact, doing so can be a detriment to one’s own case. Because insurance companies can also interact amongst themselves, they might communicate via the injured person’s insurance company as well.
What to Do When the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Offers a Check
Another driver’s insurance company might offer a settlement check if there is limited insurance coverage for a significant injury, in an attempt to quickly resolve the case within the limits of the policy. By cashing a check from an insurance company, the injured individual gives the company a basis for declaring that they have resolved their claims within that policy.
If an injured person is offered a settlement check, they should not accept the check without understanding that it is in exchange for a limited liability release. Cashing a check from an insurance company can create hurdles that may prevent them from recovering under UM policies. It may also complicate successfully negotiating down any applicable liens.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Atlanta to Learn More About Admitting Fault in these Cases
While it is not necessarily a bad thing to admit fault after a collision, you should only do so after contacting a local attorney. Admitting fault or giving statements during an Atlanta car accident case could harm your potential monetary recovery. Call us immediately to discuss what your best course of action should be if you were involved in a car crash.