Whether you drive, walk, take public transportation or otherwise engage with others, you may eventually have some sort of accident. If you are a polite person, your first instinct may be to apologize. After all, even if someone else caused the accident, you may want to interject some human emotion into the chaos.

Saying sorry after a car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian or another type of accident may be a big mistake. That is, if you sustain an injury, property damage or both, an apology may make pursuing fair compensation from the responsible person more challenging. Specifically, saying sorry may cause any of the following complications:

  1. Admitting guilt

Accident scenes can become quite frenzied environments. As such, even if you think you caused the accident, you simply do not have enough information to admit guilt. Regrettably, though, apologizing may appear as if you are doing just that.

  1. Accepting responsibility

New York follows a comparative negligence approach to personal injury claims. This means that if you were partly to blame for your injuries, you receive reduced compensation. For example, if you were 20% responsible, you are only eligible for 80% of your damages. An apology may seem like you are accepting some responsibility for the accident and your injuries.

  1. Distracting yourself

In the aftermath of an accident, you must take a variety of steps to protect yourself and others. You also may have to interact with medics, police officers or witnesses. You simply do not have time to apologize for anything. On the contrary, saying sorry may distract you from far more pressing matters.

Remember, insurance companies maximize profits by paying as little as possible. Because you want to do what you can to maximize your chances of receiving reasonable compensation for your injuries and property damage, watching what you say is important. Therefore, you likely want to hold your tongue after an accident.