For some people, apologizing is practically a way of life. Even if they just got into a car crash where someone else ran a stop sign or blew through a red light, they might still apologize to the other person out of habit or politeness. Doing so can be a serious mistake, even if you have a habit of apologizing in stressful or emotional circumstances.
Generally speaking, you want to avoid apologizing after a car crash because doing so could impact how the other driver and people in positions of authority, like insurance adjusters and law enforcement, view the crash and assign fault for what occurred.
Apologizing is seen by many people as an admission of fault, and it could wind up impacting the police report, insurance settlement or court case you bring after the crash. An apology could limit your right to compensation or a civil lawsuit after a severe motor vehicle collision.
Insurance companies and others might lead you to admit partial fault
Determining who gets the ticket and whose insurance covers the crash requires an assessment of fault for the collision. Both the insurance company representing the responsible driver and their attorney might go to great lengths to try to get you to make statements that could place some of the blame on your shoulders.
Being careful about what you say at the scene of the crash is important, as is avoiding manipulative communications from insurance companies or the other driver’s attorney until you have your own legal help.
Even a little bit of fault could end your right to compensation
Most states recognize that more than one party can contribute to a crash. Generally speaking, having a small degree of fault in a crash doesn’t prevent someone from seeking compensation from the person who actually caused the collision.
However, Alabama is strict in its approach to contributory negligence. Contributory negligence involves one driver being partially responsible for a crash that is largely the fault of someone else. If the courts agree that you have as little as 10% of the fault for the crash, they may prohibit you from bringing a civil claim against the other driver for compensation.
A knee-jerk apology could be enough to impact your right to compensation. Getting help when negotiating with insurance companies and before making a recorded statement can help you avoid mistakes that could limit your rights after a crash.