Here at the LA Injury Group, our auto accident attorney Los Angeles team has, for lack of a better phrase, seen it all. That’s not to say that we’ve seen literally everything that can happen in a car accident lawsuit, but it sure feels that way. Over the decades, we’ve handled so many hundreds (if not thousands) of car accident cases that we know what to do in a given circumstance. That being said, of course every case is different. Every client is different, and each case presents new challenges as well as opportunities. But, we always like to write these blogs because it can let our clients know of some mistakes we’ve seen people make that hurt their cases a bit.
One of the big “no no’s” that most people are familiar with when it comes to a car accident is “admitting fault.” For many folks though, they aren’t going to know exactly what that means. As a term, “admitting fault” sounds kind of dramatic. As if it were a great piece of oratory or something. Like the person who was at fault in the crash were to stand up dramatically on the front of their vehicle and say: “Yes, I did run through the stop sign while speeding so I announce, here and before everyone that I am at fault.” As you might imagine, that doesn’t typically happen in the cases our auto accident Los Angeles team sees.
Most people are polite. Obviously, there are exceptions, but most people are polite, considerate, and want to be nice. A car accident can be a genuinely shocking, jarring experience – most people are never the same, even after a small fender bender. Car accidents are the kind of life experiences that can put people into a state of shock. Many folks, in the immediately aftermath of having been in an accident, will be on a kind of “auto pilot,” where they’re just reacting and not necessarily thinking. (This, of course, is another reason we write these blogs – so that if you read what to do after an accident enough, you’ll automatically know what to do when the time comes.)
So, right after you’ve been in a car accident, most people check to see if they’re OK. Once they’ve ascertained that they and anyone they’re driving is OK, then it’s usually time to check if all involved can move. After that, the next order of business is almost invariably to go talk to the other driver. If you’re like most polite, normal people having been through something like this, the default move is to say something like “I’m sorry.” That’s normal! It’s totally human, a reasonable thing to do. Of course, we strongly recommend against it.
Our auto accident attorney Los Angeles team doesn’t want you to get the idea that, should you say “I’m sorry” to the other driver; you’ll forfeit all potential compensation or something. Of course that’s not the case. No one would think that. But, it doesn’t help. It can’t help your case. In fact, it can only help the other side’s case. There are so many moving parts to a car accident case. There is so much that goes into one. Sometimes, they end up hinging on the little things, the small moments. A detail here or there, a casual word that was just tossed off – sometimes, that can be the difference.
So, that being said, you don’t want to let something that just slipped out of your mouth be the big determining factor in your car accident case. Again, you (or your auto accident attorney Los Angeles team) could argue that when you said “I’m sorry,” you didn’t mean “I’m sorry that I caused this accident which I was at fault for.” You might have absolutely meant “I’m sorry this situation occurred.” Or, more likely, you just said “I’m sorry” as you had just been through a traumatic event that no one is ever, ever really prepared for.
That being said, the question of fault does hangover every single car accident case. Most cases, of course, are decided in negotiations. They don’t make it to trial or jurors or any of that, they’re just handled in negotiating rooms between attorneys. Sometimes though, cases do make it to trial. Folks do have to present in a courtroom. We’re always glad to represent our clients in any courtroom. It’s one more opportunity to stand up for those we care about. However, should that happen, then the judge, jury and everyone else is going to hear that you said “I’m sorry.” It won’t necessarily tank your case, but it certainly can’t help. That’s why we recommend, if you can stop yourself from saying it, don’t say it.
While we’re on the subject of “what not to say,” let us take this opportunity to extend that to the insurance company. Say as little to the insurance company as possible. The less you say to the insurance company, the better for you and your case. A great way to think of it: like a sliding scale. The more you say to the insurance company, the more you can see your potential compensation for everything you’ve been through declining. Even if it seems like a great idea, and the most normal thing to do, the best plan of action for you is to say as little as possible to the insurance company.
Our auto accident attorney Los Angeles team has found that many people think of the insurance company as some kind of objective authority. Like, they’re this neutral party that only wants the best for the people who pay their premiums or something. We aren’t sure if this is some complete victory in terms of an insurance company’s advertising or what but that is not the case. Always remember: the insurance company is not your friend. They are there to make sure you get as little money as possible, so that they can keep as much of theirs as possible.
If you have any questions about this, then we strongly recommend you look at the business plan of an insurance company. Then, compare it to the business plan of our auto accident attorney Los Angeles team. We don’t charge our clients. In fact, we don’t get paid until you do. So, we get paid from your settlement. We’ll take our money from the compensation you win. So, if you don’t get paid, neither do we. This is pretty straightforward and simple.
Now, for comparison’s sake, look at the business model of the insurance company. They only make money… if you don’t. When you get turned down for compensation, when you have to pay your own astronomical medical bills, when you have to buy a new vehicle even though yours was wrecked in a crash that wasn’t your fault… that’s when the insurance company makes the most money. They make so much when you pay your premiums over and over for years on end, and then they don’t have to give you anything. That’s how their business model works. This should help you to remember: when the insurance company comes to talk to you after an accident, they sure aren’t there on your behalf.
However, here at the LA injury Group, we’re always there on your behalf. We fight for you, wherever the fight takes us. First, it takes us through the investigative phase. Then, once we have those facts, we fight for you in negotiation, making sure you get as much as possible. Should we have to, we’ll fight for you in court, too. Find out more about how we fight and schedule a free consultation by calling us at (818) 240-1800 or going through our website.