Here’s a great article by New York DWI Attorney Aaron Wallenstein. Accidents are any number of things. Devastating and life-changing is what they are when death or serious injury is involved. Irritating, annoying, and inconvenient are adjectives used to describe minor accidents in which no one is injured. Handling accidents takes time you don’t have, patience you don’t have, and it requires knowing your rights. If you don’t know your rights ahead of time, call a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights when another driver tries to deny responsibility and blame the accident on you. We’re here to help you understand what your rights are in this kind of situation.
You have rights even if someone is accusing you of causing an accident. Many drivers at-fault in accidents want to place the blame on the other driver to save their own insurance company from being held liable so their rates don’t change. If the other driver is blaming you, you might not have anything to worry about.
At the scene of the accident, the police will come to determine what happened. It’s important you’re able to get some clear photos of the accident so you can use them as evidence if it’s needed. The police will use the position of the cars, your statement, the other driver’s statement, and they will take the time to speak with any witnesses that come forward to help determine who is at fault. If the other driver is blamed, they have a smaller chance of being able to place the blame on you. Their only course of action is to tell their own insurance company they didn’t do it, and ask them to start an investigation of their own.
Since the insurance company uses information obtained in the police report, it’s not always possible for them to place the blame on you. Know that they want to, because they don’t want to pay for the damages done to your car or any medical bills you have since the accident occurred.
Since the police typically determine fault, you have very little to fear if you didn’t cause the accident. It’s usually very easy to determine fault in an accident situation. However, you can increase your chance of being labeled faultless if you work diligently from the time the accident occurs. Even if you don’t think it’s necessary, begin protecting yourself from the start. Take as many photos as you can at the scene of the accident as soon as you can following the accident.
Find witnesses, talk to them, and get their contact information from them if they are willing to share. Ask police to take a look at the photos, speak to the witnesses, and take a look at the evidence. Whatever you do, never admit or insinuate fault at the scene. If you’re not to blame, you won’t say you are. However, you might say something the other driver, police, witnesses, and the at-fault driver’s insurance company view as an admission of guilt. A simple apology following the accident can be an admission of guilt.
The only thing you should say at the accident is factual information you know to be true. Do not speculate, do not say you might have done this or that, and don’t admit you did anything wrong. Keep your personal feelings to yourself, and only repeat the facts.
Call an Attorney
When an accident occurs, you aren’t thinking of legalities. You’re thinking of calling your boss to let them know you won’t be to work on time or your family since you won’t be home on time. You might be thinking of calling your insurance company, a tow truck, and a loved one to pick you up. You’re worried about finding a rental car, and you’re worried about finding someone to help you get to the doctor to be sure you’re not injured.
You might not be worried about legalities, but now is the right time to contact a personal injury attorney so you can discuss your rights. If someone is going to try and place any of the blame on you, now is the time to get your story together so you can begin providing evidence to prove your innocence.