According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, car accidents in this state are on the rise, with 121,345 occurring in 2021 alone. If you drive in the state of Arizona, or anywhere else in the United States, there is a good chance you’ll be involved in a vehicle crash at some point. When you are to blame for the damage, you may wonder if admitting fault in a car accident is the right thing to do. This is a tricky situation, and it is important to act carefully after any traffic incident.
Admitting Fault in a Car Accident: What Does It Mean?
You are driving down the road and notice a pedestrian standing on the corner, ready to step into traffic. At that moment, the car in front of you slams to a stop, and your vehicles collide. You were the one to hit the other car, so is this fender bender your fault?
The answer to this question is a complicated one. Even so, you feel responsible, so when you exit your vehicle, you apologize several times to the other driver and ask if they are ok. Whether you mean to or not, you are admitting fault in a car accident when you tell the other driver you are sorry for what just happened.
Admitting fault does not require a written statement, a special form, or the presence of legal representatives. Simply saying the words “I’m sorry” after a car crash implies guilt. This type of statement can be used against you by anyone who witnesses it, including:
- Other parties involved in the crash
- Nearby observers or passers-by
- Police officers
- First responders
- Insurance companies
Admitting fault is any statement that can be taken as a confession of responsibility or wrongdoing, such as “I’m sorry,” “I apologize,” or “I didn’t mean to.”
Admitting Fault in a Car Accident: Should You Do It?
For many people, saying sorry is an automatic response when something goes wrong, even if they are not truly at fault. Some people feel a moral obligation to apologize or confess when they feel relatively certain they are to blame for the incident, whether due to negligence or careless driving.
Even so, admitting fault in a car accident can set you up for failure and is never recommended by our experienced car accident lawyers in Phoenix, no matter the situation. Maricopa County residents should never assume they know the whole story or see the whole picture when a car accident occurs. Investigations may reveal unknown factors that absolve you of responsibility in the situation. However, if you have apologized or taken verbal responsibility, those words cannot be taken back. Instead, they can create a domino effect that can lead to a host of legal and financial issues.
Admitting Fault in a Car Accident: What Happens If You Do?
First and foremost, know that other insurance companies want you to apologize for a car accident. This act places all financial obligation for loss and damages on you and your insurance company. If the other driver is absolved of all responsibility, their insurance will not have to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars. When you admit fault, you are saving the other driver and their insurance company a lot of money.
Admitting fault in a car accident is also problematic because it could cost you even more money in the long term. Assume the other driver in the previous example was talking on their cell phone or had a broken tail light when they slammed on their brakes. This could have potentially absolved you of responsibility and even entitled you to compensation. However, there is a very good chance that you will not receive any payment for serious injuries or damages because you are to blame for the accident via your own admission.
The other driver could use your admission against you and take action to sue. If the case is taken to court, it is very unlikely that you can change your statement or recant your words. Apologizing for a vehicle crash creates a strong case against you.
Admitting Fault in a Car Accident: What Should You Do Instead?
If you are in a vehicle accident in Arizona, it is important to note every detail you can. Use your phone to take pictures and write down other important information, including the sequence of events leading up to a crash. While it is important to ensure the other driver is safe, you do not need to discuss the incident with them at all. It is only necessary to gather their contact information.
Remember to never speak to the other driver’s insurance company at the crash scene or in the following days. These conversations should only be held in the presence of legal counsel for your own protection. When communicating with the police or others involved in the situation, stick to the facts and avoid making accusations or sharing opinions. Even though this is a high-pressure situation, try to remain calm.
Admitting Fault in a Car Accident: Who Can Offer the Best Guidance?
When you are involved in a vehicle crash, no matter how large or how small, it is beneficial and sometimes essential to get professional help from a trusted lawyer. If you live in the Maricopa County area and are looking for a trustworthy and hardworking legal team, a Phoenix personal injury attorney at Sargon Law Group can help. This team of attorneys specialize in traffic incidents and personal injury cases, as well as dozens of other legal situations.
Admitting fault in a car accident may feel like the natural thing to do, but it almost always ends up doing more harm than good. Legal counsel can guide you down the right path, protecting you from unnecessary stress and harm. As soon as an accident occurs, it is time to reach out. Contact Sargon Law Group today to learn more about all the services available. With a Phoenix accident attorney’s help, you can enjoy more peace of mind while ensuring you get everything you deserve after a car accident and nothing you don’t.