Within 24 hours of being involved in a car accident, you may be asked to provide a statement to the police or to your insurance company. However, in the excitement and carnage of the crash, you may have forgotten key details that you now wish to bring to light. Can you change your initial statement and still win your case?
It Depends On What You Add to Your Statement
It is not uncommon for someone who has been in a car accident to forget certain details or simply not know how the accident happened. For instance, you could have been blindsided by a car that had been hit by another vehicle or been hit from behind and saw nothing. If you want to add to your statement to add details that you may have remembered after seeing photos or video of the crash, it shouldn’t hurt your case all that much. As long as your story doesn’t change too much, there shouldn’t be anything to attack at trial or during negotiation talks.
The Facts of the Case Determine Who Wins or Loses
For the most part, it doesn’t really matter what you say as long as the facts demonstrate that you were not the one who caused the crash. If you say that you don’t recall whether or not the other driver was on a cell phone, it may not matter if a cell phone is found at the scene and records indicate that a call was made seconds earlier. It also wouldn’t matter if you said that you couldn’t remember how fast the driver was going at the time of the crash if tire marks indicate how fast the vehicle that hit you was traveling.
A Jury Might Understand Why You Changed Your Story
Some people are rather detail oriented or feel like it is their job to be as truthful as possible. If someone believed that it might hurt the case to lie to the police or to an insurance company, he or she may keep altering and modifying his or her statement each time a possible new fact or aspect of the crash came to mind. Your attorney will do everything possible to portray you as someone who was trying to be respectful of the legal process and just attempting to be as helpful as possible.
Your Statement May Be Struck Anyway
Once you have an attorney, you are no longer obligated to talk to anyone about the accident outside of court. If you have already made a statement, it may be possible to have it suppressed from the record, which means any future statement that you make will be considered as your first and only official one. In the event that your testimony outside of court is stuck or sealed, it generally cannot be used as evidence or even mentioned as a basis to sway a jury.
It May Be Best to Tell the Truth
In some cases, it may be better to give a complete statement as opposed to leaving portions of the story out. For instance, if you forgot to mention that you were on your cell phone or that you were speeding at the time of the accident, it could hurt you more than if you simply admitted it at first.
Remember, using a cell phone via a hands-free kit is generally legal, which means you don’t necessarily admit guilt or imply that you were liable by saying so. Furthermore, if you admit that you were speeding or were otherwise distracted at the time of a crash, it may not matter if you were hit by a wrong way driver. In such a scenario, there would have been nothing that you did to either contribute to or avoid the crash from happening.
Yes, it is possible to win a case after you change your initial statement. Typically, a jury will take into account all the facts of the case and use state law to make a decision in your case. In the event that you are partially liable, it won’t stop you from collecting significant compensation that will make it easier to pay medical bills or provide for your family going forward.
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