Do's And Don'ts For Speaking With Law Enforcement After An Accident
If you own a vehicle, future car accidents are a fact of life. Even if you are an excellent defensive driver, the chances of having a car accident over the life of your vehicle are relatively high.
If you are involved in an injury accident, law enforcement will show up to conduct an investigation and make a report. While you may have been taught not to speak to the police because what you say can be used against you later, there are certain things that you must do at the scene of an accident. You should also not do other things at the scene of an accident.
Here are some do's and don'ts to get you through this stressful time without potentially damaging your future car accident lawsuit:
Do: Politely Produce the Necessary Documents Asked for by the Officer
As part of the privilege of driving, you signed a form when you obtained your driver's license stating that law enforcement officers have the right to ask you to produce your license, car insurance, and vehicle registration.
Each of these things is vital for law enforcement to be able to write their accident report and obtain accurate contact information from everyone involved. And, most importantly, you are required by law to comply. If you do not comply with their request, you could be arrested. So, don't argue or be angry about this request—hand over your documents in a polite manner.
Don't: Admit Fault or Apologize for Causing the Accident to Anyone Onscene
One of the most common ways people damage their future car accident lawsuits is by admitting fault or apologizing for causing an accident while on the scene.
Whether you admit fault to the law enforcement officer or a witness of the accident, this information may end up in the official police report. It will definitely be used against you in court in the future.
For this reason, never admit fault or apologize for causing an accident, even if it's glaringly apparent that you are at fault.
Do: Let Law Enforcement Know You are Shaken Up About the Accident and Would like to Consult an Attorney
Car accident scenes are hectic and anxiety-inducing for most people. For this reason, it is reasonable just after an accident to let law enforcement know that you've been shaken up and you don't feel that it's appropriate for you to discuss the accident and detail.
If law enforcement presses you and keeps asking questions about the accident, you absolutely have the right to let them know that you would prefer to consult an attorney before answering any more of their questions.
By law, this will immediately stop them from asking you any further questions.
To learn more, contact a car accident attorney in your area.