The phrase “anything you say or do will be used against you in the court of law” applies almost everywhere – not only during an arrest. When you get into an accident in Tennessee, your immediate and later actions will all affect your insurance compensation claim and the outcome of your court case, that is, if a lawsuit is filed.
Leaving the accident scene
This is a criminal offense in Tennessee. You will be charged with a hit-and-run, and your driver’s license will be suspended for a year, among other penalties. Motor vehicle accidents where someone was injured have even more serious charges. So, if you must leave the scene for some reason – to seek medical attention, for instance – make sure you notify law enforcement first and that they are aware of your departure and expected return time.
Even if you think the accident was entirely your fault, do not say so to the other driver, the police or your insurance company. It is best to wait until all the facts are known before making any admissions.
Your words can be used against you in civil court and may result in a smaller insurance settlement. And even if the accident really was your fault, there may be extenuating circumstances that you are not aware of – for example, a mechanical failure in the other car – that would change the outcome of a lawsuit.
Failing to call the police
When you’re involved in an accident, you should always call the police, even if it’s just a fender bender with no injuries. The police will create an accident report that will be useful later on, especially if there is a dispute about how the accident happened.
If you don’t have a copy of the police report, it may be more difficult to prove your version of events. In addition, the insurance companies may refuse to pay out any claims. So err on the side of caution and give them a call.
When you’re involved in an accident, it’s important to keep a clear head and avoid doing anything that could jeopardize your case. Of course, this won’t be easy amid all the chaos, but knowing what’s expected of you can help make things go more smoothly.