Does Saying “Sorry” After a Car Accident Admit Fault in Massachusetts?
The aftermath of a car accident can be difficult to navigate. Crashes are often painful and disorienting for victims. It can be natural to apologize for an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault.
However, saying “sorry” after a car accident could be taken as an admission of fault in Massachusetts. Drivers should avoid making any statement that can be construed to admit fault. If a driver admits fault, they may find it harder to win their car accident case.
If you were injured in a car accident in Massachusetts, get help recovering the compensation available to you. Contact our experienced Boston car accident lawyers by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 for a free case review.
Should I Apologize After a Car Accident in Massachusetts?
You should not say sorry or make any apologetic statements after car accidents in Massachusetts. This includes conversations to other drivers, passengers, witnesses, and police officers. It may feel uncomfortable avoiding an apology, but such statements can inhibit your ability to recover compensation related to your accident.
Furthermore, you should avoid apologizing when speaking with representatives from insurance companies. After crashes are reported, insurance adjusters may reach out to settle claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. These adjusters will often interpret any sort of apology as an admission of fault. It is beneficial for crash victims to avoid speaking to insurance representatives without legal representation.
Legal Repercussions to Apologizing After a Car Accident in Massachusetts
Apologizing or otherwise admitting fault after a car accident in Massachusetts can hurt your ability to recover monetary damages. According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 231 § 85, courts will use the doctrine of modified comparative fault when awarding damages in car accident lawsuits. In other words, damages will be awarded in your case based on percentages of fault. If you were 20% responsible for a crash while a defendant driver was 80% at fault, the defendant will be ordered to pay for 80% of damages caused by the crash while you will be responsible for the remaining 20%.
Accordingly, defendants and their insurers will look for any opportunity to shift fault for an accident. By assigning fault to the plaintiff, defendants’ insurance companies can avoid paying the full value of claims. Accordingly, saying “sorry” or making any apologetic statements after an accident can inhibit your ability to cover the full range of compensation available to you. You can contact our Quincy car accident lawyers to assess the impact an apology may have had on your case.
What Should I Say After a Car Accident in Massachusetts?
While you should not say “sorry” after a car accident in Massachusetts, there are steps you can take that improve your ability to recover compensation. Victims should take the following actions when conversing with other parties after a crash:
When Speaking with Other Drivers
You should avoid saying anything that may be construed as an apology when speaking with other drivers. However, victims should attempt to retrieve contact information for other drivers after a crash. Such information can be helpful to our Salem car accident lawyers when building your case. Contact information should include names, phone numbers, and addresses.
Furthermore, you should collect insurance information and license plate information from other drivers. Motorists are required to carry liability insurance in Massachusetts. Other drivers’ insurance information may assist you when determining the proper route to compensation.
When Speaking with Witnesses
Additionally, you should attempt to collect contact information for any witnesses to your crash if possible. A plaintiff in a car accident lawsuit must show that their injuries were caused by the defendant’s careless or reckless actions. Accordingly, statements from eyewitnesses can be very valuable when proving another driver was at-fault. Eyewitnesses can help explain the events that occurred before, during, and after an accident. Testimony from eyewitnesses can be given in either written or oral form.
However, it is also important to avoid apologizing when speaking with eyewitnesses to your crash. Apologetic statements made to witnesses also have the ability to hurt your case. Our Saugus car accident lawyers can offer guidance when reaching out to eyewitnesses after a crash.
When Speaking with Police Officers
After each any car accident, a police officer should visit the scene to draft an accident report. Accident reports often contain information that can be valuable when proving fault for a crash. These reports typically contain the following information:
- Statements from drivers involved in the crash
- Statements from eyewitnesses to the crash
- Observations from the scene of the accident
- Details regarding the people and property involved
- A drawn diagram demonstrating how an accident occurred
On some occasions, an officer may include his own findings regarding why a crash occurred. All of the aforementioned information can be useful when establishing fault.
You should always be honest and truthful when speaking with police officers after an accident. However, you should also avoid saying “sorry” or admitting fault when speaking with the officer. Even if you believe you may be at fault, you don’t know all of the facts yet. For example, you may find out later that the other driver was intoxicated at the time of a crash.
Some victims may be unsure of what they said to an officer after a crash. In such cases, it is especially important to investigate the content of accident reports. Our experienced Somerville car accident lawyers can help retrieve and evaluate an officer’s accident report in your case.
What if I Apologize but I am Not At Fault in a Massachusetts Car Accident?
Even if you are not at fault, an apology can still complicate your path to compensation. Defendants can use any admission of fault to decrease the value of your claim. Victims should not provide any evidence that may allow other drivers to shift blame for a crash. If you did say something that could be taken as an admission of fault, call a lawyer for help with your case.
If You Were Injured Because of a Car Accident in Massachusetts, Our Lawyers Can Help
If you were injured because of a car accident, seek guidance and support from our experienced Stoughton car accident lawyers by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 for a free case review.