Is Apologizing After a Car Accident Admitting Fault?
Canada’s citizens are known worldwide for demonstrating an uncommonly high degree of care and concern for their fellow countrymen. However, this penchant for politeness can work against your interests in an automobile accident. Under certain circumstances, a polite apology after a car crash might be interpreted as an admission of liability.
The legislature in British Columbia and two other provinces have adopted the Apology Act to protect Canadians. Notwithstanding the protections that are provided by that Act, at Preszler Injury Lawyers, we advise our clients to remain calm in the aftermath and to avoid making apologies or any other statements that can be misconstrued as an admission of fault.
The Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC) Will Determine Car Accident Liability
A personal injury lawyer will explain that the Insurance Company of British Columbia will review the circumstances of a car accident given the province’s Motor Vehicle Act and other rules of the road. However, the specific facts surrounding the accident will be established through witness interviews, police reports, and analysis of forensic evidence.
The Apology Act precludes the ICBC from assigning liability for an accident to a party who apologizes in the immediate aftermath. An apology, however, can still colour an investigator’s perception of it. If other facts are ambiguous, an apology might subtly persuade an investigator to assign primary liability to the party who said it.
Allowing Car Accident Facts to Speak for Themselves
If possible, gather as much information as you can to help an investigator analyze the accident, with a specific focus on:
- contact and insurance information from all persons involved in the accident;
- contact information for any witnesses who might have seen the accident;
- photographs of the accident scene;
- notes about weather and traffic conditions and the time of day when the accident occurred.
Call your insurance agent as soon as possible to report it. Also, if the damages to any vehicle exceed $1,000, you must file a police report within 24 hours in an urban area, or within 48 hours it happened in a rural community.
Communicating with the ICBC After a Car Accident
An ICBC investigator will likely contact you. Your comments and answers to their questions will be used to assign liability. Remember that they will have extensive experience in accident investigation. Your post-accident communications with the ICBC may not be adversarial, but you will be at a disadvantage. Any apology you offer in discussion with an ICBC agent will have the same effect as an apology to the other parties. To protect yourself and to level the playing field between you and the investigator, you should retain a knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer to manage all communications.
Recovering Damages for Your Losses and Injuries
Laws and regulations might impose limits on the total amount of damages that you can recover after a car accident. However, you are not obligated to accept the initial offer that you receive from the ICBC or any other insurance company. It often includes little more than the cost to repair your vehicle and reimbursement for the medical expenses you incurred in the immediate aftermath.
Regardless of whether you offered an apology to other parties in a car crash, you might have an opportunity to collect additional damages to compensate you. These might include, for example, future medical costs and expenses, occupational and rehabilitation therapy. It can also include the value of any wages and salary you did not receive if your injuries kept you away from your job. We can help you to recover that larger damages award.
Contact the Car Accident Lawyers at Preszler Injury Lawyers
We maintain several offices throughout British Columbia. Our lawyers provide complimentary initial consultations in all car accident matters. Please see our website or call us as soon as possible after you have suffered losses and injuries in an auto collision in British Columbia.
If you retain us and we agree to represent you, we will provide dedicated service to protect your interests in dealing with the ICBC and in recovering the full amount of reparations that may be available to you.