Car crashes are very common in a metropolis like Houston, TX. Whether the auto accident was caused by you or if you were an innocent party, it’s important to seek legal help when you are involved in a car accident – especially if you have been injured. When you have expert legal representation, you are in a better position for financial recovery. But what if the accident was your fault?
Should You Ever Admit Fault in an Auto Accident?
In short, no, you should never admit fault if you have been involved in an auto accident. In fact, you shouldn’t even suggest that the accident was partially your fault, especially if you are talking to an insurance company. When you admit total or partial fault, you put yourself on the hook for all the financial pitfalls associated with an accident. This can be detrimental if you are recovering from your own damages and injuries.
Of course, refusing to admit fault in the accident doesn’t mean you are omitting the truth. Even if you feel like you may be partially responsible for causing the car accident, the fact of the matter is that you don’t have all of the objective facts. Admitting fault before all facts associated with the case are collected can put you in an unfavorable position when it comes to getting compensation for your damages. The best thing to do is to say nothing at all, except what we detail below, until all the information is in hand–that information could include the police report, dashcam or other video footage, eye-witness testimony, and more.
What Should You Do Instead?
Whether you’re talking to the police, an insurance company, or your legal representation, you should always provide a factual statement about the accident. By providing a factual statement based on your perspective of the accident, the police and insurance company can build an objective view of the accident. This objective view will be important in determining who is at fault for your accident, which will be relevant if your case needs to be settled or taken to court.
Here are a few of the top reasons why you should never admit fault for an auto accident.
Less Likely to Recieve Compensation
When you admit fault for a car accident, you immediately make it much more difficult to recover compensation for your damages or injuries. Although Texas state law operates under modified comparative negligence, which means even those who are partially at fault for an accident can still receive a percentage of compensation, this rule is trickier when one driver volunteers liability for the accident.
In fact, if you admit fault for the accident, you may not be able to take advantage of modified comparative negligence. Typically, this legal doctrine only works when one party involved in an accident suggests that the other party was partially responsible. If you claim liability before this happens, you will likely lose your chance for any compensation.
You Are Not Legally Obligated
You are not in any way obligated to admit fault for an accident, particularly while your car accident is still being investigated or your case is being processed. When you admit fault in an accident, you trigger a snowball effect that will change the way your claim for damages is processed. Some people experience higher insurance premiums after admitting fault in an accident and it’s likely your driving record will also reflect your liability.
You Are Not an Expert
Even though you’ve been involved in a car accident and you have your own perspective on how the car accident happened, you are not an expert. Your claim may involve a professional car accident investigator who will be able to determine the cause of an accident based on objective facts, such as the health of the car, conditions of the road, and other factors.
There are many contributing factors to any car accident, so admitting fault before all factors are explored and analyzed is an impulsive decision that should be avoided. If you don’t know all the details of the case, then there is no need to claim fault unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise.
Your Statements Can Be Used Against You
Many people who are involved in an auto accident will talk to the police at some point, sometimes even immediately after a car accident happens. But it’s important to remember that when the police are taking your statement, they are collecting evidence – and any evidence collected in your case can be used against you. Even your own insurance company will jump at the chance to use your own statement to the police to deny payments for your injuries or damages.
When you are giving your statement to the police, insurance, or legal expert, it’s important to stick to the facts. Do not make guesses about how the accident happened or any assumptions. Even statements such as “I’m sorry” can be taken as an admission of fault.
Insurance Company Can Deny Your Claim
When you admit fault in an accident, insurance companies can deny your claim. For example, the insurance company of the other driver can deny compensation for your injuries and damages when you admit you are at fault for the accident. Your own insurance company can also deny your claim based on factors related to the accident, such as whether or not you were speeding, on the phone, or drinking before driving.
What If the Other Driver Blames You?
When the other driver claims you are at fault for an accident, this can actually become an advantage in your case. If a driver suggests you are liable for the accident, it triggers modified comparative negligence rules that mandate in-depth investigations for the accident. The goal of this investigation is to gather evidence that can be used to analyze the objective fault for each driver.
When modified comparative negligence rules are involved in your case, the goal is to ensure that you are less than 51% at fault for the accident. If you are over 51% at fault, then you and your insurance company will need to pay the total damages and you will not receive compensation. If you are less than 51% at fault for the accident, then you will receive a percentage of the compensation for your case.
What Evidence Is Used for Your Claim?
There is a lot of different evidence that will be used to investigate your claim. For example, witnesses of the accident, CCTV footage or photographs, and expert opinions from professional car accident investigators are all used to analyze the cause of an accident. Sometimes, forensic accident specialists recreate the accident to determine who is most at fault. Evidence can also include medical records about your injuries.
Auto accidents are common in urban centers, but any time there is an accident, it’s important to remember that it’s not necessarily easy to determine who is at fault for an accident. In some cases, only a legal expert and professional accident investigation can determine who caused the accident. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, please contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, TX today to learn more about your rights and how you can receive fair compensation for your injuries.