If you have been injured as a result of someone else's negligence, you will likely be hearing from the other side's insurance adjuster sooner or later. You are somewhat wary of speaking about the accident to someone on the phone, but the caller seems very polite and asks you to give a recorded statement just as a "formality". You may be promised a settlement once you give a statement, which is a powerful impetus to comply with the request. You should understand that it is not in your best interest to give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster for the other party, and here's why.
Why not give a recorded statement?
It's important to understand that all insurance companies, even your own, are for-profit entities and have an obligation to their shareholders to make as much money (profit) as possible. The main objective of the insurance adjuster on the other end of your phone call is to lessen her employer's liability for a given accident. Liability means the degree of fault and damages that lie with one party in a claim or lawsuit. As you may imagine, recorded statements given with little to no preparation and without professional legal advice could result in a financial win for the at-fault insurance agency.
How inconsistencies can hurt your claim.
It's only human nature to discuss your accident with friends, family and even on social media. With each telling, however, you may leave out some details or add in new details as your memory from the event ebbs and flows. This does not make you a dishonest person—it is perfectly normal for your memory to be undependable after a traumatic event. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters are all too familiar with this tendency and will use it to show inconsistencies in your claim.
Be very cognizant of what you say to:
- The other driver
- The witnesses
- The first responders
- Medical personnel at the hospital
- Your own insurance company (see below)
Should you give a recorded statement to your own insurance company?
It is not very likely that you can avoid complying with this request; it is normally a provision of your policy to do so. That being said, you can still take action to ensure that your recorded statement is as accurate as possible. Prepare yourself in advance by creating a summary of the accident and pay careful attention to how you answer the questions. Don't answer open ended or leading questions and don't volunteer unasked information.
You could do irreparable harm to your insurance claim by impulsively speaking to an insurance adjuster without the benefit of legal counsel. Contact a personal injury attorney like William D. Hochberg for more assistance and to ensure that your claim garners you the compensation that you deserve.