There were news reports recently in San Angelo about an auto accident at an intersection where both drivers claimed to have the green light. Obviously, both drivers did not have the green light. Both drivers did, however, do the right thing by not saying otherwise.

Whenever there is an auto accident here in Texas, whether a minor fender bender or a full-blown crash with injuries or worse,  it is essential for those involved to be very careful, what you say can and will be used against you.

Ambulance Accident Scene

Texas has at-fault insurance. In other words, this means that the person who caused the accident is also responsible for paying for all the damages. In at-fault states like Texas, drivers who cause accidents have to use their insurance to pay for the other driver's damages as well as their own.

Fault is assigned through the legal process.  That is why what you say in the moments after a crash can make a big difference.

For example, simply saying "I'm sorry" can be interpreted as admitting fault for the accident. An apology could mean that you're denied coverage or made responsible for damage to the car.  Commercial drivers are taught to not speak with you or to say anything to you about the accident.

Here are some examples of things you should never say after an accident according to Johnson Garcia LLP

  • “I’m sorry”
  • “It’s all my fault
  • “I turned too early
  • I didn’t see the stop sign”
  • I wasn’t paying attention to the light”
  • “I was talking on the phone”
  • “I’m not wearing my glasses or contacts”

Even if you feel guilty and blame yourself, do not admit it. In the confusing aftermath of an accident, you do not have all the facts. Emotional statements can negatively impact your case.

Likewise, don't ever say I'm not hurt. Pain can come days after an auto accident.  There are often hidden injuries that can be as severe as fractures, internal bleeding or brain injuries. Do not tell anyone "Oh, I'm fine".

ALSO...Don't ever, ever say, "Damn, I dropped my beer." Ok,  I added that one on my own. I have a cousin who actually served time for doing that.

Most people know that they should be careful what they say at the scene of an auto accident, but where many people get messed up is discussing the accident on social media.

Photo by on Unsplash
Photo by on Unsplash

Do not discuss any details of your auto accident on social media, period. Even weeks or months after the accident. Do not take selfies from the car wreck. Don't share the names of witnesses or go on rants about what a horrible driver the other party was in the accident.

What you say on social media can cost you dearly, if you should try to recover damages or are sued in the aftermath of an auto accident.

Let's hope you're never in an auto accident, but it is always a great idea to be prepared. Remember, it is important to exchange full name and contact information, insurance company and policy number, and driver's license and license plate number with the other parties.

Photo by Matt C on Unsplash
Photo by Matt C on Unsplash

It is also a good idea to snap as many photos as you can at the scene. Remember, these are not photos for your Instagram.

Texas law doesn't require that every auto accident be reported to the police You must report an accident only if there is injury, death or if the accident causes property damage in access of $1000. In that case, NOT reporting the accident is a serious crime.

Here's to hoping you never have an accident. If you do, I hope you remember some of the things we covered here.

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