Yesterday on the way to work, while sitting at a red light, you were rear-ended by a car that didn’t stop, or even slow down. The next day the adjuster for the insurance company of the person who hit you calls on the telephone. All he needs before he can pay you (he says) is a brief recorded statement to understand exactly what happened. He’s very nice and you have nothing to hide, do you? So what could be wrong with answering his questions on tape? It turns out, a lot!
You should never give a recorded statement to the insurance company of the person who hit you. It will only be used against you. And you have the right to say NO to this adjuster unless they get a court order (which is extremely rare).
As a general rule, you should not give a recorded statement concerning a motor vehicle accident to anyone without the advice of an attorney. You shouldn’t give an oral statement either. To reduce claims paid, the insurance company must deny claims made. To do this, company employees will look for reasons to deny your claim. They may use your recorded statement for this purpose. How?
Insurance company employees will compare the statement you gave them with other statements you have made including statements you gave an investigating police officer or statements you made during your deposition in a lawsuit arising from the accident. Where they find inconsistencies in your multiple statements, and this is not unusual when someone tells the story of his accident more than once, sometimes weeks or months apart, the company will claim you lied. The company may deny your claim as a result.
In a lawsuit, defense counsel can use your recorded statement to cross-examine you at trial or during your deposition. You may not remember exactly what you said in your statement. As a result, you may contradict yourself in some way. Although you think the discrepancy is inconsequential, the defendant’s lawyer will stress the importance of your misstatement to a jury and use it to convince the jury that your testimony is not believable.
The bottom line is that you should never give a recorded statement to an insurance company representative without the advice and guidance of an attorney. When you turn down the representative’s request, be courteous but firm. No matter how garrulous and personable they may be when they’re talking to you, always keep in mind that they are employees of the insurance company and represent only its interests – not yours.
Questions about your rights? Give me a call at 352-512-0444.
YOUR accident and injury attorney,