Q: Should I speak with the police following a car accident?
Yes, you should speak with the police after your vehicle accident. However, you should be very careful about what you say.
What the Law Requires
You’re never obligated to answer all of a police officer’s questions at the accident scene, but you can’t be completely non-respondent, either. You must comply with the officer’s request to see your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance card. Any driver who refuses to produce this information faces possible arrest and criminal charges.
Answering the Police Officer’s Questions
The wisdom of responding to an officer’s questions depends on your particular situation. If the other driver is clearly at fault and you haven’t violated any traffic laws, there’s really no harm in giving the officer your side of the story. If you do, be very careful to stick to the facts, and avoid speculating about anything you haven’t directly observed.
If you’re not sure what happened, there’s always the risk that you could be legally responsible for the accident or have committed a traffic infraction without realizing it. If that’s the case, you could easily say the wrong thing and incriminate yourself. If you’re the least bit uncertain about how the accident occurred, just play it safe and politely decline to answer questions until you’ve spoken with your attorney.
Things to Avoid
Regardless of what you say at the accident scene, some things should always be avoided:
- Don’t say “I’m sorry” to anyone. Your words could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. You should always be polite and respectful toward police officers and other drivers, but never apologize, even if you think you may be at fault.
- Don’t interrupt the police officer. When the officer is speaking with the other driver, resist the urge to interrupt the conversation or correct the story he is hearing. You’ll have the opportunity to set the record straight later.
Talk With an Attorney
When you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. You need representation by an experienced attorney in order to receive the compensation you deserve. To discuss your claim, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.