It is normal to feel dismayed and regretful after you get in a car accident. Even if the circumstance was not solely your fault, you may feel the urge to apologize to the people involved.
While a simple “sorry” may seem like the best thing you can offer at the moment, it can qualify as an admission of guilt. An insurance company will review different components of the incident to determine who is culpable. If the insurer sees that you apologized at the scene, you may not get the compensation you deserve.
You may get in a car accident where both you and the other driver are partially in the wrong. In states that follow the comparative negligence principle, an insurance company can adjust payment depending on your percentage of fault. What you say on record can affect this process, so refraining from apologizing may get you a higher claim settlement later.
Depending on state law, you can completely miss out on compensation if you are more than 50% responsible for the accident. Also, there are states that exercise the pure contributory negligence rule, which bars you from recouping any expenses if you are even 1% liable. An apology may seem like a small gesture, but it can determine if you get any settlement at all.
There are ways to handle a car accident without admitting guilt. You should check on everyone’s condition, trade information with the other driver and contact the police. Apologizing will not correct the problem and can lead to insurance issues, so it is better to focus on due diligence.