If your estimates of such things are wrong, they could later be used against you. Giancola says he has seen clients give recorded statements about distance and be found "at fault" because the distance they estimated should have given them plenty of time to avoid the crash. However, be prepared for an insurance adjuster to try to finagle these estimates out of you.
"The insurance adjuster will try to ask you that same question in 14 different ways," Giancola says. "Stay away from it. Just give the hard, cold facts. . . . Don't say, 'I think,' 'I feel,' 'I felt.' No touchy-feely stuff."
Without sounding insensitive, try to avoid saying "I'm sorry" because it can be interpreted as an admission of fault. In most car accident aftermaths, all the facts are not immediately known. Do not interpret the situation and theorize about who's at fault. Don't use words like "it's my fault," "it's not your fault," "I made a mistake" or "I'm not sure what happened." Describe what happened to the best of your ability. If you're not sure about how something happened, let the authorities and insurance companies figure it out. Don't assume anything.
"But when you talk to your insurance company and you are not at fault, then tell them you are not at fault," says Pete Moraga, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Network of California.
It's a good idea to check with your own insurance company about how you should handle communications with the other party's insurer. Don't give a recorded statement to anybody until you speak with your insurance company first.
"Ask (your insurance company), 'If the other party calls me, should I talk (to them)?'" Moraga says. "Some insurance companies may want to deal (directly) with the other party's insurance company."
It's true that you are required to "cooperate with any investigation" by your car insurance policy. But you don't need to guess, estimate or analyze information in order to cooperate. Again, stick with the facts.
Whiplash and whiplash-associated disorders represent a wide range of injuries caused by a sudden distortion of the neck.
Insurance companies often associate the term with exaggerated or fraudulent claims, so saying, "I have whiplash," could delay the payment process.
Refer to your injuries in medical terms if you can, or wait until your doctor makes a diagnosis.
What not to do after a car accident
Do not give a recorded statement to the other driver's insurance company. It can be used against you later on. You want to control your case and the release of information. Insurance companies must ask you for your permission in order to record an interview.
Do not make friendly conversation with adjusters. Stick to business and tell them only the "who," "what," "when" and "where." Don't even tell them the how at this point.
Do not give out any information about your family. Do not give out the names of your doctors.
Do not sign a medical release. Federal law protects your medical records. The insurance companies may use this release to dig through all your medical history, even things not related to the car accident.
This article was reported by Kat Zeman for Insure.com.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
It's a shame if not a crime that a policy holder has to jump through hoops after paying a premium just to get the compensation that is owed to them. The insurance companies are glad to take a premium and then train their agents to find ways to increase your premium every year, yet when you file a claim, you need a lawyer to make sure you don't get the shaft.
The wall street protesters are aiming their wrath at the wrong industry. The insurance industry has a long history of avoiding paying what is owed on claims. At the very least, insurance companies do all they can to make it difficult to get the correct compensation for a claim.
Insurance companies will gladly take your money. But when you have to file a claim, the "your best buddy" act goes away real quick...
When a claim comes, the insurance company is thinking:
A. How can we get out of paying this claim.
B. If we can't get out of the claim, can we get then to settle for less...
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