In Columbus, OH, an at-fault system determines if and how much compensation you can receive for your damages. For many people, it seems fair. That is until they have to file a claim. In at-fault system insurance companies are able to manipulate and distort statements until they can justify minimizing any compensation payout. So it is important to give an accurate but self-protecting statement.
You do need to provide statements to the police for a police report and to your insurance company. With both statements, you need to be honest, factual, and know how to protect yourself from the manipulative nature of insurance companies.
Always State the Facts
After a crash, many people are shaken up, and it’s hard to get anything straight so it is a good idea to contact a trustworthy Columbus car accident attorney. Then you have the added stress of insurance companies and police officers trying to understand the situation while you’re still out of sorts. There are a few ways to take charge of this issue and make sure that you only provide clear and factual information.
First, tell your insurance company to wait. They don’t need a statement right away, and you can settle down over a few days to really get the facts of what happened.
Second, communicate with the responding officer. If you don’t know what happened, say so. It’s better than trying to justify the crash in any way. Don’t forget to file an accident report.
Third, write your statement down. Writing down what happened will give you an easy reference when your memory starts to fade.
Avoid “I” Statements
When you start using statements that begin with “I,” you put yourself in a dangerous position. To protect yourself and your claim, you need to avoid saying anything based on feeling or opinion. Statements such as, “I feel fine” can make it difficult to receive any compensation for injuries forms the crash.
Additionally making statements to the other driver such as, “I’m so sorry,” can put you at-fault even if you didn’t do anything wrong. In short, statements that start with “I” are dangerous for anyone after a crash. Instead, make sure that you protect yourself and keep opinions or insight private.
If you did make any of these statements, you need an attorney. An attorney will often aid you in correcting or nullifying those statements and help you explain what it was how you felt, not what you did.
Give the Basics
Who, what, when, and where. Those are the questions that you have to answer. Insurance companies and police reports will both require this information, and you can deliver it without stating anything that might put your claim at risk.
Even in accidents where you were not at fault at all, you can answer these clearly and completely. For example, you can tell an insurance agent that you and Mr. Joe Driver were in a crash on the interstate at a specific exit, on whichever date. Then inform them that is was a rear collision, Mr. Joe Driver hit you from behind. That is the extent of what they need to know.
Don’t Partake in a Conversation.
Insurance staff is the nicest people to talk to, and they’re so friendly. That whole image is a tactic. You call them, and they start asking how you are feeling and what your plans were for the day. What does it matter if you were on your way to the beach or a birthday party? It doesn’t matter at all. They’re trying to provoke you into a conversation.
While you definitely should be courteous, you don’t have to feed into the whole conversation bit. You can politely avoid or deflect unnecessary questions. See, they use the power of conversation you get you to say things like, “Oh, I feel fine.”
In some cases, they’ll showcase that you were in a hurry to get somewhere or that you didn’t seek out medical attention because it wasn’t important. You don’t have to participate in any conversation past answering the very basic questions.
Contact Your Attorney for More Guidance
After a car accident, the pathway to compensation may seem clear. Calling your insurance and then waiting for a check however, will not get you a fair amount of compensation. Instead, include a lawyer in your process. An attorney will negotiate on your behalf and may even take your case to court if the insurance company is being unreasonable.
Ohio Car Accident Lawyers has a full staff of experienced attorneys who work with car insurance companies every day. They can explain what information you do need to provide and what you don’t. Contact our offices today, and Ohio Car Accident Lawyers will schedule a free consultation for your case.