Who is at fault in a car accident can be a complex question. Here is one that is far easier to answer: should I admit fault in a car accident? No. It’s that simple. Do not admit fault. There are a variety of factors that contribute to and cause accidents: stating that it was you who caused it may not be accurate – and it will impact your ability to receive appropriate compensation for injuries and damage.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in West Palm Beach
Because the issue of fault is often complicated, and because your rights are at stake, it is important to contact a car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach as soon as possible. In many cases, it is advisable to do so even before you speak with insurance companies.
Fault is a tricky subject: you are not aware of what was happening inside the other vehicle. What if, for example, the other driver was texting? What if they failed to maintain their car and their brakes failed? The circumstances that led up to the crash are often unknown to you. If you admit fault at the scene, it makes it exceptionally difficult for you to later file a liability claim – even if an investigation determines the other driver caused the accident.
What about the idea of “partial fault.” Under Florida law, the parties involved in an accident can share liability – thus making the whole issue even more complex! This is known as “comparative negligence” or “contributory negligence.” Let’s look at an example:
Say that you were traveling 10 miles over the speed limit (not much but still speeding). Another driver failed to yield the right of way to you, and an accident resulted. You did contribute to the accident in some way. If you file a lawsuit, the judge or jury may determine that you were 20% at fault, while the other driver was 80% at fault. If your damages would have been $50,000, it would be reduced by 20% (or $10,000 in this case) – meaning you’d receive $40,000.
The bottom line is, if you admit fault, the truth may be that you are only partially at fault, if at all. Leave it to the police to determine who is at fault in a car accident.
How Do You Protect Your Rights?
Again – and it bears repeating! – do not admit fault. Also, do not agree to give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. It is too easy to have your words twisted or misrepresented. Any ambiguity on your part (e.g., “I may have looked away from the road for a second.”) can be used against you. Consult a car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach before speaking with an insurer.
You know you shouldn’t admit fault in an accident – but what should you do?
- Call the police or 911 to report the accident.
- If possible, move the car to a safe location (e.g., out of traffic or to the side of the road).
- Check that everyone involved is all right. Advise the police or emergency responders of any injuries.
- If you speak with the other driver, do not apologize. It can be a natural reaction: “Are you ok? I’m so sorry!” – even if it wasn’t your fault. Just ask if they are injured.
- If you can, and if it is safe, document the scene of the accident (e.g., visible injuries, damage to vehicles, road conditions, etc.).
- When you speak to the police, stick to the facts. Do not speculate as to what may have happened. If you are not sure about a detail, just say that you don’t know. Don’t guess.
- Contact a top car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach immediately.
Contact the LaBovick Law Group when your rights are at stake. We will fight tirelessly to ensure you – and your rights – are fully protected.