One of the most important ways to get more money from your car accident settlements is to avoid making mistakes in the beginning. A lot of people are unaware of the simple mistakes that can end up costing them thousands of dollars from their insurance claims.
Here’s what you should NOT do:
1. Don’t Give Details
When you first contact the other driver’s insurer to start your car accident settlements, you don’t need to give a detailed description of the accident yet. You are simply calling them to let them know you intend to file a claim against them.
The insurance company wants a statement from you about how the accident happened. They want to catch you off guard and will casually try to talk to you about the accident.
Don’t give them any detailed information yet. Just politely refuse to discuss the details about the accident right now.
Tell them briefly, how the accident happened, who were involved in the auto crash, which direction you were driving in, and how the other car hit your vehicle.
If they ask you about any witnesses, tell them “there may be witnesses” and you will try to get more information.
Try to end the conversation by saying you will be able to provide more facts, once you have had time to collect more information and the investigation is complete.
2. Never Say You Are Fine or Uninjured
The truth is you can’t be sure until you meet with your doctor. You may feel fine right now, but if you feel any pain after a month, your car accident settlements will not pay for your car injuries.
A friend of mine made this mistake. When she filed a claim against an insurance company, she told them she wasn’t hurt. A month later, she called them back to say she had severe lower back pains.
However, since she had already told the claims department that she was fine, she could not get money from the insurance companies for her medical bills. If she would have gone to the doctor and thoroughly made sure she was ok, she could have gotten more money from her claim.
Don’t risk not getting care for your injuries. Tell the insurance company you are not sure how severe your injuries are and that you will get checked up by your doctor.
3. Don’t Share Medical History.
Insurance companies want access to your previous medical records so that they can blame your injuries on a previous incident.
They don’t want to pay you for your personal injuries, so they will claim you had this problem before and should not pay you.
Don’t agree to share your medical records with another insurance company. You have every right to deny this.
Also, don’t agree to meet with any doctor they recommend. If the doctors are affiliated with the insurance company, they will try to minimize how badly your injured. This will lower your car accident settlements for any personal injuries.
Let them know you intend to meet with your own doctor and will send them the results of the medical examination.
4. Don’t Settle Quickly.
Insurance companies want to settle claims quickly before you have had time to figure out the cost of your damages. This gets you less money than your car accident settlements are actually worth.
You may want to get a quick settlement to avoid the headache of dealing with the insurance companies and having the settlements drag on.
However, in the end you will end up paying more out of your own pocket.
Don’t let the insurance companies off the hook that easily. They are a multi-billion dollar industry and they should pay you exactly what your car accident settlements are worth.
Decline any initial offer. Tell them you will be in a better position to discuss any settlement once you get checked up with your doctor and get an estimate for your car repair and medical bills.
Also, ask them to send you a written offer so that you don’t have to constantly deny any quick settlements.
5. Don’t Admit any Fault for the Accident.
Never admit you caused accident because that is not decided yet. Don’t even hint that you may have been at fault.
When you call the insurance:
Don’t say: “I was in a car accident with your insurer.”
Say: “Your insurer hit my car.”
This may seem like the same thing but it is not. The first implies you were part of the cause of the accident; the second clearly states the other driver was the cause.
You have to watch your words because any suggestion of fault on your part will be taken as an admission. They will use your exact words against you and will lower the amount of money you get from your car accident settlements.
6. Don’t Give Estimates of Damages.
Right now, you don’t know how much it is going to cost you to repair your car.
If you throw out your estimate, then that is pretty much what they will try to give you, regardless of how much the damage actually was.
Insurance companies will lower the amount for your car accident settlements by trying to pay you for cheaper “good enough” car parts.
Don’t let them do this. Get the estimates for the SAME parts on your car.
Tell them “I am unsure of the cost of damages right now. Let me get an estimate from my car dealership.”
Avoid giving details about the accident, cost of damages, and personal information when you first speak with the insurance companies. You have only begun the car accident insurance claim process and it is too early to be giving information without collecting more facts.
Avoiding these mistakes can increase your chances of getting you more money from your car accident settlements.
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