The DC Metro area has always been a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. The attorneys at Portner & Shure understand the differing needs of clients who do not speak English or speak English as a second language. While our firm is ready to serve these types of clients with our talented multilingual staff who work closely with our attorneys, there are other aspects of the legal system that are not so friendly.
Many of our non-English-speaking clients from Falls Church do not know what to do when the police officer comes to the scene of an accident. By the time these clients call us, sometimes the damage has already been done. While our seasoned attorneys have experience with defending clients who have put themselves in these difficult situations, what can you do to prevent a misunderstanding?
We always tell our friends, family, and current clients that the best way to prevent a misunderstanding is to stay silent and call an attorney immediately. We even give this advice to those who speak perfect English. For those who struggle with English, it is important to learn this phrase: "I do not speak English. I need to speak with my attorney."
It is important that you do not try to communicate what happened during the accident if you do not speak English or speak English as a second language. You may unknowingly give false information and make you situation worse. In fact, many of our clients make the mistake of apologizing after an accident.
It is essential that you do not apologize. If you give an apology, the police officer or the other driver may take your apology as an admission that you have done something wrong and that the accident is your fault. Many clients apologize because they often feel a lack of confidence in their language abilities and, because of this, say that they are "sorry.'
Remember, it is best to not speak. Call your attorney at Portner & Shure immediately. OUr firm has staff that speak Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Korean available 24/7. We will advise you of what steps to take next in your own native language and guide you through the legal process.