Is Saying Sorry After a Car Accident an Admission of Guilt?
The Sunshine State was recently ranked 13th on a list of worst states for drivers due to what experts say is a combination of fair driving quality, high driving costs, and moderately safe conditions for driving. While there may be reasons for these bad driver rankings, saying sorry doesn’t quite cut it if you’re the cause of an accident.
If you’ve been in a car accident in Florida, it is important that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself from liability. While it may be required by law to turn over certain information to law enforcement if you’ve been in a crash, it is important not to say too much, including the words, “I’m sorry.”
Does Saying Sorry Admit That You Were at Fault?
In most situations, Florida law says that statements that are made outside of a courtroom are not admissible evidence during a trial. It is called hearsay. However, any statements that are made by the opposing side may be used against them in court. This means that if the driver of the other car says, “I’m sorry. The accident was my fault” the statement may be used as evidence in court to prove a case.
Apologizing to some people is almost an instinct even if they didn’t actually do anything wrong. It’s human nature to try to keep a situation from escalating if a simple apology can prevent it. So, if this is what happens after an accident, is it still a binding declaration of guilt?
According to a Florida law called the apology statute, statements expressing sympathy cannot be used as evidence in court. So, while other things that a driver says after a car accident may be used as evidence in court, statements of sympathy, condolences, or other statements given with a sense of benevolence may not be used as evidence.
Some statements, however, may include a combination of admissions of fault and sympathy. Those statements, when brought up in court, may be broken up so that the apology itself won’t be admissible, but the admission of guilt can still be used as evidence. For example, if a driver says, “I feel bad. That was my fault” it could be broken up. This would make “I feel bad” not admissible, but “That was my fault” could be used as evidence.
What Not to Say After an Accident
Florida laws allow you to file a lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries after a car accident, even if you were partially at fault for the crash. This means that you shouldn’t discuss your claim with anyone except for an experienced personal injury attorney. You should never make statements about fault, especially to the driver of the other car. This also means that you shouldn’t make statements on social media or tell your friends about the case or it could be used against you in trial.
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney Today
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, it is imperative that you contact a Florida personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. The Florida attorneys at Leifer Law Firm can review your accident and help you understand your legal options. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.