Car crashes can cause severe injury and financial hardship for the people involved. Even when you realize immediately that you are not the one at fault for a collision, you may still naturally worry about the effects of the wreck on the other person.
Especially if you are female or were raised in a religious household, your first impulse after a collision could be to apologize to the other party involved or to the professionals that you talk to afterward. Your apology might be an expression of sympathy, rather than an admission of guilt.
Could apologizing affect your right to compensation if you are not the one to blame for the crash?
Insurance companies look for any excuse to reduce payments
What you say at the scene of a crash and while talking with insurance company representatives or police officers will directly influence the compensation that you receive. Insurance companies are likely to go over the records for the collision very carefully looking for ways to mitigate their financial responsibilities.
Your apology could be the leverage they need to pay you less than the maximum amount of coverage available under the policy. Especially if you attempt to handle a large claim on your own, you may accept less than you deserve after apologizing or a collision.
The other driver can’t use the apology against you
If there isn’t an insurance policy for you to make a claim against or if you suffer severe injuries that require more compensation, you might need to go to court against the other driver or a third party with responsibility for the crash.
Texas does have a law that prohibits the introduction of a statement of sympathy in civil court proceedings. If all you do is apologize to the other driver, the first responders or the insurance company, your expression of sympathy will not prevent you from seeking compensation from the other driver. Only clear admissions of fault will typically influence the outcome of a civil lawsuit, but it is usually better to err on the side of caution to protect yourself.
Understanding the small mistakes that could affect your compensation after a car crash will help you make better choices.