A car accident can be a traumatizing experience, and you may feel even worse if you believe you’re the one who caused it. If you’re involved in an accident you may have caused, you might feel the need to admit fault right away, but it’s not always the right thing to do. This guide will answer the question, “Should you admit fault in an accident?” and offer other helpful tips about what to do after a car accident.
Should You Admit Fault If You Cause an Accident?
While you may feel guilty or overwhelmed after an accident, avoid admitting fault, even if you believe you’re to blame for the incident. If other people, such as another driver or a police officer, ask you what happened, describe the accident truthfully without placing blame on yourself. In Illinois, you can receive some compensation after an accident, even if you’re found partially responsible. If you fully admit fault after an accident, you risk losing compensation you may have received for damages or injuries you suffer.
Why You Shouldn’t Admit Fault in an Accident
It may feel dishonest, but there are actually several valid reasons you shouldn’t admit fault after an accident, even if you think you may have caused it. These reasons include:
Risk of False Statement
Everyone deals with the aftermath of an accident differently, and you won’t know how you react until you’re in the situation. If you’re unable to think clearly after an accident, you risk making a false statement, pointing the finger at yourself when someone else may actually be at fault. In many cases, it’s best to get some distance from the situation before you answer questions or provide information. If you need to give a statement to the police or answer their questions, use simple language to describe the facts without offering your opinion about the cause.
Difficulty of Changing Your Statement
Once you provide a statement admitting your fault in an accident, it can be hard to change it. If you learn new information or recall additional details that make you believe you weren’t fully at fault, police officers or accident investigators may doubt your new statement. They may even question your credibility. That’s another reason it’s a good idea to take some time to collect your thoughts before giving a full statement.
Even if you strongly believe you caused the accident, you don’t know that for sure. You may be missing key information about factors that contributed to the accident, such as others’ actions or circumstances beyond your control. For example, the other driver may have been using their phone at the time of the crash. Rather than admitting fault, let the investigators gather all the facts and information so they can fully determine what happened.
What To Do After an At-Fault Accident
It can be incredibly scary to be involved in an accident, especially one you fear you may have caused. After checking to make sure everyone involved is safe, there are some actions you can take after an at-fault accident. Those steps include:
- Move to a safe location, such as the shoulder of the road or a nearby parking lot, and stay at the scene.
- Call the police so they can prepare a report, which can help investigators and insurance companies determine fault in the accident.
- Collect necessary information, including the name of other parties involved in the accident and their insurance information.
- Take photos of any damages and note conditions, such as road hazards, that may have contributed to the accident.
- Speak with other parties and police to describe what happened, but avoid using phrases that may imply guilt, such as “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t see the other vehicle.”
- Contact your insurance company to file a claim and discuss the coverage you have related to the accident.
What Happens If No Ones Admits Fault in an Accident?
After contacting your insurance company, you may wonder what happens if no one ever admits fault in the accident. In that case, insurance adjusters will investigate the accident and compile information to determine what happened and who was at fault. An adjuster may consider a variety of information in their assessment, including the police report, witness testimonies, and statements made by involved parties. You can also provide additional information, such as photos taken at the scene.
If the insurance adjuster determines you’re to blame for the accident, you may still be eligible to receive compensation. In Illinois, insurance companies determine the extent to which involved parties are responsible for accidents. If you’re found to be less than 50% responsible for the accident, you can still recover damages proportional to the extent of your responsibility. For example, if you’re found to be 25% at fault, the other driver’s insurance may pay for 75% of your damages.
Will Auto Insurance Cover At-Fault Accidents?
In Illinois, you’re required to have liability insurance as part of your policy, with minimum property damage limits of $20,000 per accident and bodily injury limits of $25,000 per person per accident and $50,000 total per accident. This insurance pays for damages or injuries you may cause to another person in an accident.
Collision insurance is another type of auto insurance that may help pay for costs in an at-fault accident. It pays for damages if you’re involved in an accident with another car, regardless of who’s at fault. If you finance your vehicle, the lender may require you to have collision insurance.
If you’re unsure about what coverage to include in your auto insurance policy, contact American Auto Insurance today. We have extensive experience working with Illinois drivers and can discuss affordable coverage options with you to make sure you’re protected in every situation.
Quality Auto Insurance in Illinois
Accidents can happen to anyone, even the most careful drivers. We hope you’re never involved in an accident, but if you are, we want you to be fully covered. At American Auto Insurance, we have years of experience serving drivers across Illinois. We can help you meet the state’s obligations for liability insurance and discuss additional options that may be beneficial. We’re proud to offer quality insurance at prices you can afford, with rates starting as low as $14 per month. Call us today at 773-286-3500 for a free quote and learn how much you could be saving on your auto insurance.