Television programs and the prevalence of internet legal advice has given many of us the idea that you should “say nothing to anybody”. In our opinion, this is not a reasonable way to be in relation to a personal injury matter. We think it is proper to be civil and polite, give basic information about who you are and a broad outline of what happened, especially at the scene of an accident/incident. Give a fulsome explanation of what occurred to the best of your knowledge. Try to say only what you “know” to be true and do not guess. Beyond that initial discussion or perhaps signing an incident report, it is best not to say much else and simply tell the insurance agent that you are going to seek legal advice and get an accident lawyer in Ottawa. Do this right away or as soon as possible.
Seek legal advice before sharing more than the basics
Speaking with an insurance agent or adjuster after an accident is not the same as a criminal law matter. Presuming there is no criminality involved, what you are likely embarking upon is a civil claim. Accordingly, it is not a situation of having a “right to remain silent”. That being said, it is preferable to speak with your lawyer before speaking to an insurance agent or an adjuster. Having a legal understanding of the circumstances can indeed by very helpful and useful. You may not know the legal implications of what you might say; or, you may fail to say something critical because you did not know that it was so important. Seeking advice from a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa, as soon as possible after the incident, can be the difference between a successful claim and receiving no compensation. After an accident you should cooperate with police and make the lawfully required reports of the accident. Sharing insurance information and documentation, along with your contact information, is reasonable and required. However, it is usually unnecessary to go into much detail beyond that without first seeking and getting legal advice.