When you drive, you interact with thousands of other motorists. Eventually, for whatever reason, you may collide with someone else’s vehicle. While you want to be polite, you should not apologize after a car accident.
If you sustain a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident, you may be eligible to receive significant financial compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages. On the other hand, if you are responsible for the crash, you may receive little compensation or nothing at all. Put simply, when assigning blame, words matter.
Every driver’s duty of care
The drivers with whom you share the road owe you a duty of care. Specifically, they must drive reasonably.
This does not always happen, though. Rather, the driver who collides with you may have had too much to drink or have chosen to drive at an unsafe speed. Alternatively, he or she may have decided to ignore distracted driving prohibitions. Regardless, if a driver breaches his or her duty of care, you may have a valid personal injury claim.
Maryland and Virginia Law
State law controls most personal injury claims. In Maryland, if you are partly to blame for your injuries, you cannot recover any compensation for them. It is the same story in Virginia. Therefore, if you are even 1% responsible for the accident, you may be out of luck.
An unintentional admission of fault
You are not an accident reconstructionist or member of law enforcement. Therefore, you likely lack the skills necessary to determine fault in any automobile accident. You also may not have all available information.
If you say sorry, though, someone may think you are accepting fault for the accident. Even if you qualify your statement, such as apologizing for the inconvenience of the wreck, you may have trouble with your personal injury claim.
What you do immediately after a car crash may change your life forever. While there is nothing wrong with showing compassion to the other driver or checking for injuries, you should never apologize.