When you sustain injuries in a car accident, it’s natural to assume others will want to help you recover. You might think the insurance adjuster who calls you will be on your side and willing to fight for the maximum settlement you deserve. You might also believe the person responsible for causing the crash will admit to what happened, so you receive the money you’re owed for your medical bills and other losses.
Unfortunately, life isn’t always fair. Insurance companies typically want to avoid large settlements. They might look for valid reasons to deny your claim or provide a low settlement offer. At-fault motorists don’t always readily admit when their actions contributed to a crash.
Even if the people involved in your case seem friendly and accommodating, it could be a tactic they use to make you feel comfortable and let your guard down. If you end up saying the wrong thing during your ongoing claim, your words could come back to haunt you later, resulting in much less money than you deserve.
Below are four phrases you should never say after getting hurt in a car accident.
It’s one thing to show compassion for other people who were injured in the crash. You can ask if they’re injured and need medical assistance. However, you should never say you’re sorry, even if you think it will diffuse the situation or make others feel better.
Insurance companies see an apology as an admission of guilt. The adjuster handling your claim might think you apologized to another driver because you were at fault for the accident. Those two little words could negatively impact your case, resulting in a denied claim or a settlement offer that doesn’t compensate you for your necessary medical treatment and other expenses.
“I Didn’t Get Hurt”
Car accidents are unexpected traumatic experiences. The shock you feel could mask the severity of your injury. You might not realize how badly you were hurt unless you see a doctor. Sometimes, a traumatic brain injury doesn’t cause serious symptoms until hours or days later. If you say you don’t have any injuries at the accident scene, your words become evidence in your case.
Unfortunately, some accident victims don’t realize the extent of their injuries until they get home or wake up the next day. You might have said you felt fine to another person in the immediate aftermath of the crash. Then, hours later, you start experiencing debilitating symptoms. After a trip to the emergency room, you discover you have a fractured bone, requiring treatment to heal. What started out as minor scrapes and bruises turned into an overnight hospital stay and physical therapy to regain mobility.
The problem with telling people you don’t feel hurt following a car accident is that the insurance company will take that statement as fact. If you change your story later, the insurance company will likely assume you’re making up injuries or exaggerating how bad they are to receive a higher settlement from your insurance claim.
“I Accept Your Offer”
It might be apparent that the other driver caused the crash. Their auto insurance company accepts liability for their policyholder and offers you a settlement. You might think the number they give you is the best you will receive and feel tempted to accept. However, there’s always room for negotiation.
Insurance companies typically don’t offer the full amount of insurance coverage to accident victims. They might start low and coerce or intimidate the claimant into accepting. If you sign a settlement agreement, you’re stuck with the amount listed on the document.
Most people don’t realize they can counter an insurance company’s offer. You should review the insurance policy to determine the available coverage, so you know how high you might be able to go.
You could also benefit from hiring a car accident lawyer. Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance carrier on your behalf to secure the maximum possible settlement you deserve. If you attempt to negotiate yourself, you could walk away with a monetary award that doesn’t compensate you for your total losses.
“ Before the Accident, I Was…”
Whether you were texting on your phone or speeding, you shouldn’t inform the police officer investigating the accident. If they ask you outright, don’t lie, but don’t answer, either. Instead, tell them you need to speak to your lawyer. They could include statements you give them in their police report. If you admit partial fault for the crash, you could end up with less compensation than you need.
Missouri’s pure comparative negligence statute allows the jury to diminish the plaintiff’s compensation by the percentage of fault they share for an accident. If the other driver’s defense attorney discovers you admitted your careless behavior to the investigating officer, they could use it as evidence against you in court. If the jury determines that your actions contributed to the crash, they will decrease the monetary value of your case.
Speak to a Dedicated Car Accident Attorney Today
OnderLaw is ready to advocate for your rights and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. Our team is familiar with Missouri laws and the procedures we must follow to hold negligent parties liable for their actions.
If someone else caused your injuries in a car crash, contact us right now for your free consultation.