By: Whalen Hersh
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Should I Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company?
After a car accident, the insurance company for a defendant may ask you for a recorded statement giving details of what transpired and collect your personal details. Before talking to an insurance adjuster, you need to talk to a lawyer.
Insurance adjusters are usually friendly and accommodating, but you must always remember: the defendant’s insurance company adjuster is not your friend, and their job is to make sure the insurance company pays you as little as possible for your claim. Taking a recorded statement is one of the tactics insurance companies, not simply to find out what happened, but to obtain statements that will help them reduce your claim amount.
You have the right to decline an interview with the defendant’s insurance company. Note that if you are seeking first-party benefits (like uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage) from your own insurance company, you typically are required to provide a recorded statement if requested. But in either case, you should never provide a recorded statement until you consult with your attorney. If you need an attorney to represent you in insurance claims negotiations, you can trust Whalen Hersh to have your back.
What to Expect from the Defendant’s Insurance Claims Adjuster?
Insurance companies hire or contract claims adjusters to review accidents and injury claims. The adjuster will call you not long after the accident to collect your personal details and inquire about what happened during the incident and ask you how you are injured. You need to be careful about how you respond to every question, as some of your responses may be used against you in the claim process.
How Can a Statement Be Used to Reduce Your Claims?
The insurance company usually seeks to keep claim payouts as low as possible. Below are ways a recorded statement can be used to reduce your claims.
- Comparing several reports- The appraiser will compare details from multiple statements and reports to spot any inconsistencies and anomalies. These can be police reports, witness reports, or even a doctor’s report. Any discrepancies found may lead to the reduction of your claim amount.
- Tricky questions- Questions during recorded statements may be specifically designed to trick you into giving responses that will hurt your claim or case.
- Putting “spin” on your answers- Employees of insurance companies may sometimes ask questions, make statements, or rephrase answers in a way that either alters the meaning of your answers, suggests you have limited memory, or creates ambiguity in the details of how the accident happened.
- May be used during your trial- Your recorded statement may be used to cross-examine you during the trial.
Thus, it is imperative you speak to a lawyer before providing any recorded statement so that if you do provide a statement, you can be prepared.
Responding to Questions in a Recorded Statement
A recorded statement is used by insurance company to obtain the victim’s account of what happened during the accident and as a reference during trial and claim negotiations. In addition to asking questions that make the claimant provide answers that benefit the insurance company, insurance claim adjusters also will try to obtain statements as soon after an accident as possible.
This is done to ensure the insurance company gets your statement before you talk to lawyers or others about the accident, and before you may be aware of the extent of your injuries. You may feel like you are simply bruised and sore in the days after a collision, but as time goes on you may begin to recognize signs of more serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury.
Thus, during the recorded interview, you need to be cautious about what you disclose and how you explain what happened and how you are injured. During the interview:
- Do not admit fault-fault is a legal concept based on the facts of what happened; stick to the facts if the insurance adjuster starts asking whether you believe you are to blame for the accident occurring
- Stick to the questions asked
- Listen carefully, and provide concise answers
- Be sure and confident of what you say
- Never guess or assume facts- answering I don’t know or I’m not sure are acceptable answers if you don’t know
- Ask clarification for anything unclear
- Always remember that the insurance company is trying to reduce your compensation
Need Help Filing an Insurance Claim? Call Whalen Hersh Now!
If you have been involved in an accident, you want a qualified accident attorney to manage your claim or case. At Whalen Hersh, we have a long history of successfully helping accident victims with their insurance claims, including providing advice and representation before and during the recorded statement process. Please get in touch with us today to set up a free consultation with the legal team at Whalen Hersh.