No. You should not admit fault, even partial fault, for a car accident. Even if you think you caused the accident, do not admit fault because you may not be aware of all the factors that caused and contributed to the wreck.
We encourage people who were in a car accident to make sure everybody involved is okay and call the police to report the accident if there are injuries or the accident otherwise requires reporting the accident. Provide a factual statement to the police, but do not speculate about what caused the wreck. If you are not sure of something, tell the officer you are unsure.
Why Should I Not Admit That I Am At Fault?
You may not be aware what was going on inside the other vehicle, what traffic laws the other driver might have broken, or what other circumstances might have transpired in the seconds or minutes leading up to the crash.
An investigation may later reveal that the other driver failed to yield to you, was texting at the time of the accident, or ran a stop sign. But if you already admitted fault for the accident, it may make it more difficult to file a liability claim against the other driver and get a fair settlement for your damages.
Can I File a Claim If I am Partially At Fault?
Yes. Florida follows pure comparative negligence law, which states that two or more parties can share fault for a car crash. But your percentage of fault proportionally reduces your settlement or verdict amount in a liability claim or lawsuit.
For example, if you were 20 percent responsible for the crash, it reduces your settlement or verdict by 20 percent. If you suffered $10,000 in damages, the compensation you are eligible to receive from the other driver drops by $2,000, or 20 percent, and you collect $8,000 instead of the full $10,000.
So if you admit fault for the accident, you may be overlooking that you may only be partially at fault – or not at fault at all.
How Do I Avoid Admitting Fault & Jeopardizing My Claim?
Do not agree to a recorded statement with the other driver’s insurance company until you speak with a lawyer. Insurers may exaggerate or twist your words to imply that you caused the accident.
For example, if you tell the insurer that you “may have looked away for a second right before the accident,” the insurer may take that to mean you were not paying attention to the road when in reality you may have been simply checking for vehicles in the other lane.
Your lawyer can help you prepare to give a recorded statement so you can avoid falling into these traps. If the insurance company is insisting upon a recorded statement, inform the adjuster that you will first consult your lawyer before giving any statement.
For legal help after a car accident, call the team at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine at 1-800-747-3733 for a free consultation.