The shock and trauma from the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle accident may leave you confused and disoriented. Your first instinct might be to apologize to the other driver, especially if you notice they suffered visible injuries. However, an apology is an admission of fault. You are basically telling the other driver you are sorry for causing the accident, which led to their injuries.
What if you also suffered injuries with delayed symptoms? If you admit fault, you will lower your chances of recovering fair compensation for the damages you sustained. You just got out of a terrible accident. You will have no idea who caused it until further investigation.
What should you do instead?
Ask the driver if they are okay and exchange relevant information with them. You should get their license plate, name, address, contact information and insurance information. Document the accident and get the contact information of witnesses, if there are any. When you speak to the other driver, witnesses or the police, avoid saying anything that sounds like an admission of fault. Insurance companies may try to pin the accident on you, and saying you are sorry gives them leverage.
Even if you think you do not have injuries, you should still seek medical attention after a motor vehicle accident. You never know the extent of the trauma from a collision until you go through a thorough medical examination. Furthermore, if you decide to hold the other driver accountable through a personal injury claim, your attorney can use your medical records as evidence in your case.
What if you believe the accident was your fault?
Sonoma operates under California’s pure comparative negligence laws, where even someone who is partially responsible for an accident can seek compensation for their injuries. The amount of compensation can lessen based on your degree of fault, which is why you should not apologize because you are only incriminating yourself. The other driver may have been texting while driving or fatigued, which means they could have a higher degree of fault than you. Do not let politeness and civility get in the way of getting the justice you deserve.