Some of us have been in car accidents and we will likely want the insurer to help pay some of the bills related to car repair and injuries. Car owners should maximize the amount of money they could receive after an auto accident by carefully choosing what they need to say to their insurer:
1. Don’t immediately call the insurer: Unfortunately, regardless of what they say in ads, insurers are not really our friend and it should be on top of the list people you should notify after an accident. Car owners often feel angry, scared and overwhelmed immediately after a car incident. This could influence on how we describe the situation to the insurer. We should go to the hospital, when we are injured. There’s plenty of time to talk to our agent, especially after we are already calm down.
2. “I’m sorry” or “It was my fault”: Car owners shouldn’t say something that implies that they apologize for anything. Other driver could have equal blame in this matter, although we are also at fault. This also goes for what we tell to the police and other authorities. What we say could be used against us later.
3. “I think” or “In my opinion”: We shouldn’t estimate or guess anything. Unless we continuously stare at the speedometer while we are driving, we can’t be sure how fast we moved during the accident. It is likely that we don’t really know, so we shouldn’t guess. Wrong things we say to an adjuster may eventually be used against us, because we could imply that we traveled too fast and didn’t have enough time to stop the car quickly enough. Adjusters may ask us to make some estimation; we shouldn’t do that and just tell them facts that we know.
4. “I’m alright”: Some types of injuries take time to manifest and although we don’t bleed profusely after the accident, bruises and other more serious injuries could develop later. Back or neck pain may not start hurting a few days later, especially after adrenalin has been flushed from our body. When we feel pain, it is important to contact the doctor immediately. The cause of our pain should be examined and investigated properly. We also shouldn’t sign any kind of medical release before we talk with the attorney.
5. “I’ll give an official statement”: Car owners have no obligation to supply recorded statements, although the insurer asks for one. What we say to adjusters could be taken out of context or even distorted. It could be used against us and wrong things we say can be difficult to correct since it’s recorded.
6. “I accept your offer”: Many car owners simply aren’t aware of the actual value of the claim and they may immediately jump at any early offer made by the insurer. We should be aware that insurers try to pay us as little as we can and then close the case quickly. We should receive only the best offer possible.
7. “I’ll give my relatives name”: Car owners are not required to give any detail about their family. Insurers could contact our family to get further details about us, including our past and what we have told them. We shouldn’t let insurers invade our personal life and in many cases, insurers don’t have to know about these things.
8. “I don’t know any lawyer”: Even if we don’t have any lawyer, we shouldn’t tell insurers about that. We could follow that up by hiring a good accident attorney and this could give our claim more attention and respect. Experienced attorneys can use their knowledge to push insurers into doing what they have to. They could also help us to calculate costs of future and immediate damages, such as time missed for work, medical bills, and impact of injury on our daily lives, loss of potential earning and various out of pocket expenses. This way attorney can help us get the most benefit we could.
Although we don’t have to tell them everything, we must tell the truth and never lie to our insurers. They could use our lies as arguments to cancel our claims and even the best attorneys can’t help us with that.