At 8.20am on Friday 19th October I was in a car crash and it wasn’t much fun. However, as with everything happening in my life at the moment, I wanted to share my experience and see how others had dealt with a similar situation. I also have a lot of American and Canadian readers of my money blog and their insight into the insurance world could prove valuable here.
One Big Car Crash
A day before helping a family member move house I was involved in my first car accident. It happened on a motorway slip road in wet conditions when the driver behind me crashed into my car. My car was relatively OK, whilst the driver behind’s car was in a bit of a mess.
The driver must have hit me a between 20 and 30 miles per hour. I saw him coming in my rear view mirror as I waited patiently at the slip road. The driver didn’t notice I’d stopped, along with the three cars in front of me when the crash took place. My foot was braced against the brake and I’d secured my handbrake as I could do nothing else; there was nowhere to go.
As his car sped towards mine I was looking in my rear view mirror, until the last second when I decided to turn my head to look directly out the back window. I constantly ask myself why I turned around? With hindsight, I should have taken the ‘airplane’ position with my head in my hands and towards my knees. Anyway, my neck – as well as the rest of my body – jurked forward and back quickly and I knew straight away something was not right. I lay for a second on the front passenger seat holding my neck, trying to take it all in.
When I composed myself I don’t mind saying I was shaking a little. The driver in the car behind was young and not from the area. He was shaking worse than me and in complete panic ( it wasn’t his car but his mother’s vehicle). He said he had insurance so I said not to worry and they would sort it out. He had a recovery number for a company as his car would need it.
The first thing I did after returning home was call my insurance company. However, I didn’t realise that the information I’d taken was very brief. I knew the time of the accident, where it was, the driver’s name, the driver’s mobile number and the registration number of the car.
I knew the car was red but not what type of car or the brand, I didn’t get any insurance details from the driver and I didn’t even have his address. In truth, the drivers name and registration number seemed to be enough but as a relatively sensible man I expected I would be able to remember these questions, which I was not.
The insurance company immediately asked if I was OK. I responded with “my neck is sore” but that hopefully it will get better. Over the next few days it has become increasingly more tight and tender. However, despite not asking to pursue a personal injury claim, the injury specialists called me anyway. I explained that it was too soon to determine if I needed medical help or felt like I was due compensation. Both my insurer and injury solicitor wanted me to proceed.
The accident was not my fault, but should insurance companies be encouraging their customers to claim against other drivers? Or, am I being foolish? Is it the responsibility of the insurance company to ensure every customer gets what they are entitled to, even if they don’t know what that is?
“Show Me The Money”
The representative for the insurance company and for the injury claims specialists were eager for me to proceed with a claim. In fact, I had expected one, if not both of them, to scream at me “SHOW ME THE MONEY!” repeatedly until I agreed to proceed.
I’m posing a question here, is it morally wrong to encourage people who have been in a car accident to claim money back or is it just good customer service?
In the UK we don’t like claiming money or complaining in general, however we perceive people from the USA as being much better at claiming when an injury has taken place. My initial thought was that claiming against an accident was greedy and simply going to increase the costs for other road users, but when there is a legitimate injury, should a person make a claim?