Giving a Statement After a Car Accident: What You Should Know
If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident, you may hear from an insurance claims adjuster who wants to get your recorded statement.
You are under no obligation to give a recorded statement. While some people may think that a recorded statement can expedite an investigation and can help both parties reach a fair settlement, that is rarely the case. Giving a recorded statement is not required and is not in your interest. Sometimes insurance companies use recorded statements to jeopardize the claims of legitimate accident victims—all so the company doesn’t have to pay up.
Why Do Insurance Adjusters Want Recorded Statements?
When an adjuster investigates the events that led up to your injury, he or she will likely look for inconsistencies in the statements that several people provide. The more versions of the story they have, the easier it may be to blur the lines of their own liability. It’s important to remember that insurance companies are businesses and they’re focused on making profits. The less money they pay out to claimants, the more money they bring in as profits.
Giving a Recorded Statement: The Process
If you choose to give a recorded statement—which begs repeating: you should not do—it’s wise to know what the process may entail before you begin. An insurance adjuster will likely contact you after you’ve filed a claim and they may ask for your account of what happened during your accident. It’s likely that the adjuster will approach you in a way that is friendly and non-threatening, and he or she may also ask if you will give your permission to record the conversation. If you have been recorded by an insurance adjuster without your consent, you may want to speak with an experienced attorney.
Throughout your conversation with the insurance agent, he or she may try to clarify your statements with additional questions. It’s essential to think about what you say before answering. Some of these questions may try to lead you in a certain direction that would undermine or weaken your claim.
For example, an experienced insurance agent might try to question how confident you are in your account of specific details, or might lead to admit that you made a small mistake during the accident. A small admission of guilt or even saying you don’t know the speed limit might delegitimize an entire claim.
Why You Should Decline a Recorded Statement
Generally, it is not recommended to give a recorded statement before speaking to a lawyer because you could accidentally say something that is taken out of context or forget a fact that is important. Your words can be used against you to weaken your case even though you told the truth. Remember, insurance adjusters have experience and are highly motivated to get you to say something that will lessen your chances at receiving compensation, or lower the amount on your claim.
If you have suffered an accident and are dealing with the claims process in the aftermath, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced Washington DC Auto accident lawyer for counsel on your specific case.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C., for their added insight into car accident cases.