The Risks of Recorded Statements After an Accident
One of the most common things that an insurance adjuster will try to get from you is permission to record your statements. Perhaps you have received a friendly call from a claims adjuster requesting a recorded statement regarding how the accident occurred and the type of injuries sustained. Often, the adjuster will make it seem that such a statement is standard procedure and is required. This is false. Insurance adjusters are people hired by insurance companies to evaluate each case, interview the claimant, and gather evidence that can help the company pay less or get away without paying at all. They are on the insurance company’s side, and that is something to keep in mind every time you interact with them.
Car accidents happen on a daily basis all around the United States. Even if it seems like it was just a minor collision, this event can still have a negative or even devastating effect on your life. In general, you should never give a recorded statement to the insurance company or their adjuster, regardless of whether your claim involves an auto accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, head injury, or other injury claim. The insurance company only needs basic information to begin your claim such as your name, address, and phone number.
Remember, anything you say, can and will be use against you. Every action taken by an insurance company is done to avoid or limit the amount of money it must spend. The intent of recording a statement is not to protect you.
Here’s what you need to know.
Are You Required to Provide a Recorded Statement?
Almost always, the insurance company seeking a recorded statement is not your insurance company; but the insurer of the other individual who was involved in the accident. Your own policy may require you to give your insurance company a recorded statement, but you are not under a duty to give the opposing insurance company a recorded statement. If you choose to give a statement, you should certainly consult with a strategic personal injury attorney at Duque Law before you provide one.
The other party’s insurance company has one main goal and that is to limit the liability on the part of their insured in an attempt to save money. Adjusters will use an array of strategies to convince you that providing a recording statement is in your best interest. Often, the adjuster will make it sound like the recording is mandatory and necessary. At other times, the adjusters will be friendly, seemingly working for your benefit. Do not be fooled.
Here at Duque Law, we advise our clients not to provide insurance companies with recorded statements, especially immediately following the accident when you may be particularly emotional and/or disoriented. This could cause you to accidentally provide incorrect details to the insurance company or to take full or partial blame.
Injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident frequently do not manifest instantly after the accident. As a result, any statement made to the insurance company stating that you sustained no injuries could have a critically negative effect on your case. This is partially the reason insurance companies attempt to record a statement within 24 hours following the accident.
Should I Provide a Recorded Statement?
Everything you say on a recorded statement will be compared to police reports, statements made to different insurance companies, witness statements, etc. Many clients ask us whether or not they should give a recorded statement after an automobile or trucking accident. If you have been injured in an accident, you should not give a recorded statement to the insurance company until you speak with an experienced accident attorney. You may assume that a recorded statement is harmless or that you have nothing to worry if you tell the truth about the details of the accident.
In reality, most recorded statements given to insurance companies without the help of a lawyer can actually do more harm to an injury claim. Remember, insurance adjusters are searching for ways to diminish claims and avoid paying out. It is crucial that you deny any request for a recorded statement until you have contacted an experienced accident attorney.
Reasons Not To Give a Recorded Statement After An Accident
Even though it might seem like an innocent request, an insurance adjuster can use a recorded statement as evidence against your claim. But an insurance adjuster is trained to get you to trust them. They may casually ask “How are you doing?” during the recorded statement and wait for an answer like “I’m fine, thank you”. It may not seem relevant to your case, but it could be used against you later on.
Besides possible “traps” that you could avoid by being a little careful when you talk to an insurance adjuster, a recorded statement can also be used against you to find certain discrepancies between your statements. Even though you tell the truth in each instance, your statement can vary slightly semantically, which can be interpreted as contradictory statements.
- Extent of Injuries Do Not Appear Immediately
Some injuries just do not become symptomatic right away. If the insurance adjuster gets you on record saying you were NOT injured, but you claim otherwise later, it does not come across well to a jury. Most doctors agree that it is common for someone to begin experiencing pain two to three days after an accident. Imagine if the insurance company contacts you within 24 hours of the accident, which they usually do, they ask if you are in pain, and you tell them that you are not in pain. Fast forward a year or two when you have accumulated thousands in medical bills for injuries that became apparent a few days after you gave the recorded statement, and you are in the middle of a trial.
It is extremely damaging to your case when the recorded statement is played and the judge or jury hears your voice telling the insurance company that you are neither hurt nor in pain after the accident.
- Inconsistencies in Your Statement
Insurance companies look for inconsistencies in the things you say from your initial statement to the recorded statement. If your statement changes, insurance companies may try and use this as a way to deny your claim.
You should know the different statements insurance adjusters are listening for when they speak with you, such as:
- Any apologies or words such as “I think”
- Any admission of guilt or fault in the accident
- Any changes from your original statement
- Any claims that you are not in pain or dealing with an injury
- The Statement You Give Can Be Used Against You During a Trial
Insurance adjusters often ask questions that are worded in a certain way in order to trick you into answering in a manner that could hurt your case. You may not even know it is occurring when it happens. During a recorded statement, you may be urged or even bullied into agreeing that certain things are facts, even though they are not entirely accurate. You may answer in agreement in efforts to get the adjuster to move on, and that answer can be misconstrued by the insurance company later on to serve its interests over yours.
Their questions may be leading, making you sound like you do not remember exactly what happened. They may act sympathetic, saying since the accident happened so fast and you were upset after, it must be hard to remember all the details. This may cause you to make statements that appear as if you do not remember the details of the accident, even when you do. The defense lawyer will not hesitate to use your recorded statement against you. The goal will be to discredit your claim or make it appear as though you are not really injured.
What Compensation Is Available After an Auto Accident Case?
In addition to dealing with insurance adjusters, many people may be dealing with pain after the accident. More often than not, when you get involved in a car accident you may suffer from injuries that would send you to the hospital and accumulate medical bills that could be very stressful. Often, it is not just you that gets affected; the pain and suffering can also affect your family. That is why you have the right to make the at-fault party pay for their wrongdoings. Even in instances where no one was hurt, you can still receive compensation with the aid of a Southern California personal injury lawyer.
Your car accident lawyer should have the expertise and experience to investigate thoroughly on your behalf, interpret all data that has been collected, and determine and maximize your car accident claim. When you file for this you can be eligible to be compensated for:
- Lost earnings
- Damage to the property (vehicle)
- Medical bills from the time of the incident until all procedures are done
- Pain and suffering plus mental anguish
Should You Speak with an Attorney?
Be careful what you say and what you sign. It is always recommended that you get legal advice before you commit to anything. Insurance companies desperately want to catch you in inconsistencies and will do their best to undermine your testimony. Our legal team at Duque Law Group is comprised of award-winning and nationally recognized trial lawyers who collaborate with nurses, doctors and medical experts regularly. Though we understand the nature of injuries, we are not physicians, and always encourage victims to seek treatment as soon after an accident as possible, and to follow up and heed their doctors’ advice.
Call us now at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your options. A free consultation is just a phone call away.