If you are sure you have caused a car accident, shouldn't you just admit fault and save everybody all the trouble of determining liability? On the surface, this seems like good advice, but if you dig a little bit deeper, you will realize why it's a terrible idea. Here are several reasons you should never admit liability after a car crash:
Your Insurer Doesn't Want You to Do It
Most insurers will tell you not to admit fault even after causing the accident. This is because the insurer doesn't want to clean up after you when you make a mistake and admit to an accident you actually didn't cause. If that happens, it will be up to your insurer to defend you and (hopefully) overturn the verdict. Therefore, even if you are sure you have caused an accident, your insurer won't be sure of it because they weren't at the scene. It's best to wait until all of the evidence is presented and to talk to your insurer before admitting to anything.
You Can Easily Make an Error Due To Shock
Another reason you shouldn't admit fault is that you can easily make a mistake. First, you are likely to be in shock in the period immediately after the crash, and people in shock aren't known for making rational decisions. Secondly, the other driver may pressure or intimidate you into making an erroneous admission of guilt. You may also admit fault if the other driver is more injured than you and you are feeling guilty. Lastly, unless you are a trained accident investigator, you don't have the skills and experience to determine liability for an accident.
It Can Increase Your Perceived Contribution to the Accident
The last reason you shouldn't admit fault after an accident is that it may magnify your contribution and lessen the other motorist's contribution to the accident. Most car accidents aren't caused a 100% by one person; they usually occur as a result of several parties' actions. For example, you may you find that one motorist was going over the speed limit while the other was tailgating or that one person's car had defective brakes and the other ran the red light.
In such cases, each motorist's contributions to the accident will be computed in terms of percentages. Imagine a case where the judge or jury hears testimony that one motorist admitted fault while the other denied it. Even if you are both eventually found guilty for the accident, it is easy for the motorist that admitted fault to be deemed more liable for the accident than the other motorist.
For more information about what you should do after a car accident, talk to your insurer and an attorney like those at Brownfield Law Office.