What To Do if the Insurance Company Asks You To Give A Recorded Statement
Our Houston lawyers can guide you through the claims process
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you will soon be dealing with an insurance company about recovering compensation for your damages. This includes compensation for current and future medical expenses, lost wages if you’re unable to work, and other damages such as pain and suffering.
As part of the claims process, the insurance company will investigate the accident and gather evidence. And at some point, an adjuster may ask you to give a recorded statement about what happened.
It sounds harmless enough. The adjuster said the insurance company simply wants to get your side of the story. So should you go ahead and make a recorded statement?
The short answer: this is not a good idea. There may be times when you are expected to give a statement, but you should always talk to your attorney first.
What is a recorded statement?
Insurance adjusters will ask for a recorded statement as they are gathering information soon after the accident. This helps them to determine fault and how much compensation should be paid. Everything you say in your statement will be transcribed and put into a document, which becomes part of your claim file.
But it’s important to remember that the insurance company is not on your side. The job of the adjuster is to protect the insurance company’s bottom line, which means paying you as little as possible. And they have been trained to ask specific questions in specific ways.
So you can expect to be asked questions that are vague or have no clear answer. The purpose of this is to make you sound less sure about how the accident happened. The adjuster may also ask about your medical history or whether you were taking any medication. You are not required to answer these types of questions – but they won’t tell you that.
How insurance companies try to trick you
The accident may have clearly been the fault of another driver, and you may think there’s nothing to lose by giving a statement and answering some questions. But the goal of the insurance company is to get you to say something that can be used against you to limit your compensation. Here are some of the things they’ll be looking for in your statement:
- Inconsistencies: When you give your statement, the insurance company will compare everything you said to the accident report, witness statements, and what you told police officers at the scene. Anything that doesn’t match will be used to cast doubt on your claim.
- Descriptions of Your Injuries: The adjust may ask about your injuries, how you felt after the crash, how you feel now, and your current injury status. They’re looking for statements they can use to downplay the severity of your injuries. For example, if you said “I felt fine” soon after the crash, they’ll take that as evidence that you weren’t injured – even if you experienced delayed symptoms.
- Additional Information They Can Use: The adjuster may seem friendly and casually ask about prior injuries you experienced, or what you were doing just before the accident. The purpose of this is to get you to reveal something they can use to justify limiting your compensation.
Do I have to give a recorded statement?
If you are contacted by the insurance company for the other driver in the crash or any other involved party, you absolutely do not have to give a recorded statement – and you shouldn’t. If you are asked to give a statement, politely decline and explain that you would like to get legal advice first. Then contact an experienced car accident lawyer.
If you are filing a first-party claim with your own insurance company, it’s more complicated. You do have to cooperate with your insurance company to some extent. But you also need to be careful, because even your own insurance company is trying to make a profit, and that means paying you as little as possible.
So, even when dealing with your own insurance company, you should not give a recorded statement without speaking to an experienced attorney first. If an adjuster calls and tells you a statement is required before your claim can be processed, politely explain that now is not a good time and ask to reschedule. Then call a lawyer.
An attorney can help you accurately tell your side of the story
Some of the ways an attorney can help include:
- Prepare your statement – We can discuss what happened before, during, and after the crash and determine exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it.
- Stick to the facts – To the extent you must give a statement at all, you only need to speak to the basic facts of what happened. We can help you filter out anything pertaining to fault.
- Stick to relevant information – In Texas, you have the right to refuse to give your insurance company information that isn’t pertinent to your claim. Your attorney can make sure you don’t include any information that the insurance company doesn’t need – and might use against you if they have it.
- Put it in writing – The basic problem with a recorded statement is that you only get one shot at getting it right. Writing your statement down means we can take the time to revise and ensure that it accurately tells your story.
- Speak to the insurance company on your behalf – No matter how prepared you are, the reality is that insurance adjusters do this every day, and they have extensive training on how to elicit statements that save money for their employer. Their experience puts you at a disadvantage. Our experience levels the playing field.
Remember, once you make a recorded statement, it becomes part of your claim. You can’t go back and change what you said. It’s important to work with a lawyer to make sure your account of the accident is clear and accurate – and protects your legal rights.
An experienced attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve
At Smith & Hassler, we’ve been helping people who were injured in car accidents for decades. Our attorneys know how insurance companies operate and are very familiar with the tactics they use to try to limit compensation. We fight for the rights of our clients and push back against insurance company attempts to minimize claims.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, we can help. One of our attorneys can review the details of your crash, discuss your legal options, and answer any questions you have. There’s no cost and no obligation. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
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