It doesn’t matter what kind of accident you’re in. It could be a car accident, a slip and fall, or an object dropped on your head.
You should never say certain things if you want to keep your case as strong as possible.
Here are the three biggest “danger phrases” you could possibly say.
#1) I’m sorry.
Saying “I’m sorry” is human. It’s a very nice thing to do.
It’s also one of the worst things you can do. When you say, “I’m sorry,” you essentially admit fault.
The defendant and their insurance company will use this phrase against you later.
While this phrase may not stop you from recovering compensation, it can reduce your eventual payout under New York’s comparative negligence laws. The higher your “fault percentage,” the lower your payout.
You may claim damages for the 1% you are not at fault, even if you are 99% at fault, but most lawyers won’t take such a case. The diminished returns just aren’t worth it.
#2) I’m fine.
We’re taught that downplaying our hurts and our harm is the polite thing to do. But saying “I’m fine” indicates that you haven’t been injured enough, especially if you wave off medical attention.
If, later, it turns out that you were deeply injured, insurance companies will use this statement to claim you are faking your injuries or to claim you got injured in some other way and are now trying to make them pay for it.
Even if they can’t convince the courts or a jury that you’re faking it, that little “I’m fine” could vastly reduce your pain and suffering multiplier. Taking a 1.5 multiplier and reducing it down to a multiplier of 1 can cost you thousands. After all, the defendant will argue. How can things possibly be that bad when you said you were fine on the day of the accident?
#3) Let’s settle this just between us.
In many cases, it’s against the law to avoid involving the police or the insurance company in your claim.
Even when it’s not, making any agreements or settlements at the accident scene without involving proper legal counsel is a big mistake. You could accept a few thousand dollars on the spot when your case is worth hundreds of thousands.
In addition, the defendant could use this statement against you to show that you were worried about what the case might reveal or were worried enough that the accident was your fault that you tried to pressure them into keeping everything unofficial. It won’t be a good look.
Get Help Today
When you’re at the scene of an accident, the best thing you can do is stick to the facts, report the accident, get medical attention, and contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Fortunately, we can often help even if you’ve made some of these mistakes at the scene of your own accident. Much will depend on the facts of your case.
When you work with RLF, you’ll work with a law firm that strives to help you receive the highest payout for your accident. Contact us to get started today.
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Meet Mr. Richman
SCOTT B. RICHMAN, ESQ.
Mr. Richman is the Managing Member and Founder of Richman Law Firm PLLC. In his role as Managing Member, Mr. Richman oversees the day-to-day operations of the firm and handles the litigation of the most complex legal matters across a vast array of practice areas and disciplines.