Car accidents are frightening and stressful scenarios to endure. Nearly every person who gets into a car accident immediately enters fight-or-flight mode, and the ensuing panic can accelerate an already complex scenario into a confusing blur of convoluted memories. You may look back and realize that something you said was incorrect, or notice a factor in the accident that you did not consider at first. This is why you should choose your words carefully after an accident.
Right after the fact, it's usually impossible for anyone to tell exactly how an accident occurred. Even if one party appears to be clearly at fault, there could be conditions such as defective car parts or distractions via phone that both parties are not aware of. Still, what you say in the immediate aftermath of a car accident can affect a claim later on down the road. While it is important to speak with any other parties involved in the accident and exchange information, you should try to avoid any condemning language.
You may be surprised to learn that even something as simple as apologizing may indicate that you were at fault in the accident, or that you believe you were at fault. If you apologize to the other driver, it can be taken as an admission of guilt. Additionally, even if you think you know what happened, it is probably best not to discuss the accident with the other parties until after you have had time to process the incident.
It is not uncommon for a driver to claim, for instance, that he or she should have started to brake sooner, which may indicate that the driver was at fault for not braking. Further investigation could reveal that the driver's brake pads were faulty, or that the driver's tires did not meet proper safety standards, which could be a fault of the product manufacturer and not the driver. If you have been in a car accident in Tennessee, consider meeting with an attorney to discuss the circumstances of your case and learn how you could recover compensation if you were not at fault in the accident.