Should I Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company?
Sometimes after you suffer injuries in a car accident, the insurance company will send an adjuster to visit you. This adjuster may ask you to make a recorded statement detailing your injuries and damages. He or she may claim that this statement will speed up the claims process – however, you should never make a recorded statement without speaking to your Seattle car accident attorney first.
Why Do Insurance Companies Ask You to Give a Recorded Statement?
You may wonder why you need to deny requests for recorded statements. The reason for doing so is because the insurance company is not on your side, even if the claims adjuster may seem friendly to you. Remember, the insurance company is the entity responsible for paying for your medical bills, property repairs and replacements, and other expenses.
It is not in the insurance company’s best interest to pay you the maximum settlement. In fact, it is the goal of the claims adjuster to save the insurance company money – and to offer you as small a settlement as possible. Insurance companies ask for these recorded statements to further justify a smaller settlement. The insurance company can use anything you say in this statement as evidence against you in an upcoming court case.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company is asking for a statement, you do not have an obligation to provide this statement. In fact, it is not in your best interest to do so. Contact your personal injury attorney before you speak to a claims adjuster.
Consequences of Providing a Recorded Statement
The claims adjuster may try to get you to record a statement very soon after your car accident. However, many symptoms of injuries after a car accident may not appear until several days after the accident. If you record a statement to the insurance company before you know the full extent of your injuries, you will not be able to claim compensation for injuries that you become aware of after giving the statement. This strategy is one method of reducing your claim.
If you provide a statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you may find that the company and the at-fault driver’s attorney will use what you say in the statement as evidence against you. If you unintentionally contradict yourself in this statement, it can make you look untrustworthy to the court.
What if You Decide to Give a Statement?
If you decide to give a statement to an insurance company, employ a few strategies to protect yourself. However, keep in mind that most attorneys would strongly advise against speaking to the insurance company.
- When you give the statement, request that the adjuster not record the statement. The adjuster cannot record you without your consent.
- Do not volunteer any information to the adjuster. Only answer questions that the adjuster asks you.
- Avoid explaining or justifying your answers. If you do have to explain, keep your answers short.
- Do not admit fault for the accident. If you admit fault, you will not receive any compensation.
- If the adjuster offers you an agreement to sign, do not sign it. Never sign a document before reviewing it with your attorney.
- If you do not know the answer to a question or you are not sure about the answer, say that you don’t know or you are not sure. Do not guess or make up an answer.
- If you do not know what the adjuster means when he or she asks a question, do not answer the question.
Avoid providing recorded statements to an insurance company after a car accident. Always speak to an attorney before you speak to a claims adjuster.
Contact Washington Injury Law for more information.