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Does Saying “I’m Sorry” After a Car Accident Admit Fault?

When do we say we’re sorry?  When we know we’ve done something wrong.  Where a car accident is involved, saying “sorry” could be a costly mistake.  In most states across America, including Pennsylvania, the seemingly harmless words “I’m sorry” may actually be admissible as evidence of liability following a crash.  Not many people are aware of this fact, and to make matters worse, apologizing is often our first instinct when we are involved in an accident. Nonetheless, when it comes to the law, making an explicit apology after being involved in an auto accident – as well as most other accidents which cause personal injury – is normally interpreted as an admission of guilt in court proceedings and other legal matters.  Obviously, that doesn’t bode well for the person who did the apologizing.

What to Do if You’re Involved in a Personal Injury Accident

Although many try to be courteous and sincere following an accident, from a legal standpoint it is far more advantageous to avoid making any potentially incriminating statements at the scene.   Instead of apologizing when an accident has occurred, you should always do these two things:

  1. Immediately after the accident, you should obtain the names of all of the individuals involved, as well as obtaining contact information of any witnesses who may have been present.
  2. After exchanging and obtaining the relevant information, you should immediately contact an experienced personal injury lawyer or your insurance company for advice about what to do next.  You should also be sure to remain at the scene, and to refuse any payments the other driver may offer to make to you on the spot.  In the long term, you should also avoid taking your car to a shop for repairs prior to talking it over with your insurer.  A car accident attorney or your insurance agent will be able to advise you about post-accident “dos and don’ts.”

Alternately, there are also things which you should take care not to do (such as apologizing).  For example, you should never sign any documents at the scene, other than official documents requested by the police or law enforcement authorities.  If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, you should offer no written or oral statements admitting fault – and that includes apologies.  As tempting as it may be due to personal feelings and social expectations, an apology could very well come back to haunt you in court as a formal admission of guilt.  Your legal and financial prognosis is likely much better if you simply stick to the straight facts instead.

The Personal Injury Attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm Have the Experience 

The experienced and aggressive Philadelphia car accident lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm always offer a free, no-obligation consultation to individuals involved in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia car accidents.  For an in-depth consultation with our Pennsylvania car accident attorneys, call our law offices today at (215) 246-9000, or contact us online.  We’ve been representing clients for decades – let us put our experience to work for you.

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