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Admitting fault

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader


Meet Jill. On her way home from work, she stops by the store to pick up the ingredients for a quick dinner. She calls her husband, Michael, to see what time he’s getting home. Michael is a lawyer who represents insurance companies and he tends to work late. Jill returns to her car, glances behind her while continuing her conversation with her husband. (Jill and Michael aren’t real people.)

Seconds later, Jill hears and feels smashing metal and plastic. Jill pulls forward, puts her car in park and tells Michael she just backed into another car. She tells him she’s okay. Before she ends the call she hears Michael say loudly, “Don’t admit fault!”

Jill gets out of the car and sees a crying teenage girl sitting in the driver’s seat of the other car. The girl is not injured. She tells Jill that her father is going to ground her forever. Jill tries to comfort her. The girl calls her father. Jill can’t hear what the teenager’s father is saying but Jill can tell he’s not happy. The teenager asks Jill for her insurance information. Jill grabs the information from her car. Along with the contact information and policy number, her insurance card provides a checklist of things to do and not do after an accident. Listed in bold print, “DO NOT ADMIT FAULT.”

Jill calls 911 to report the accident. She then walks over to the teenager who is still crying as she speaks with her father. Jill gets the teenager’s attention and asks if she can speak with her father. Jill gets on the phone and tells the man that his daughter did nothing wrong. Jill describes how Jill backed into her car and then proceeds to repeatedly apologize to the teenager and her father. When the police officer arrives, Jill describes how she backed into the teenager’s car.

Jill heard what her husband told her. She read the insurance company’s checklist. But not apologizing did not seem right to Jill. She backed into another car. She was at fault. The teenage driver did nothing wrong. That’s one of the reasons she has insurance.

Jill is glad she didn’t follow the guidance from her insurance company.

She’s also happy about her decision to ignore her husband’s advice.


Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you

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