You may be caught off guard if the insurance adjuster for the driver who hit you contacts you soon after your crash inquiring about your health. He may sound truly interested in how you are feeling and in processing your claim quickly. Often the adjuster will ask you to give a recorded statement to help speed up paying your claim. However, you want to be wary of talking to the insurance adjuster at all and should never agree to give a recorded statement. Doing so could create a hurdle in your attempts to obtain the compensation you deserve and may delay the settlement of your claim.
Why Does the Adjuster Want Your Recorded Statement?
A recorded statement is a question and answer session between the adjuster and you where you answer questions about how the crash happened and your injuries. It is tape recorded, and a written record is created of your statement that can be used later in negotiating your settlement and at any court hearings. While the insurance adjuster may want your statement in part to compare to the one he probably obtained from his insured driver, he has other reasons for wanting your statement.
The insurance adjuster’s job is to save money for the insurance company he works for. He does this by denying or reducing insurance claims—often legitimate ones. His overall goal is to get you to say something that hurts your case and that he can use to delay, deny, and reduce your claim.
Are You Required to Give a Recorded Statement?
The insurance adjuster may tell you or at least imply that you are required to give a recorded statement in order for your claim to be paid. This is untrue. You are not required to give a recorded statement, and your refusal to do so does not affect your right to compensation for your injuries. In fact, it could be disastrous to your case to agree to this.
How a Recorded Statement Could Be Used Against You
Insurance adjusters are trained in how to effectively take a recorded statement and to ask questions that can help the overall goal of denying your claim. They also have extensive experience taking these statements. Ways adjusters can get you to hurt your claim include:
- Saying inconsistent statements. The insurance adjuster will try to trick you into saying inconsistent statements. In addition, he will compare your recorded statement to what you said to the police officer and any other future statements you give. If you say anything inconsistent, he will try to use it to discredit your claim.
- Getting tripped up by trick statements. Insurance adjusters are trained to ask confusing questions designed to get you to say something that they can twist into you admitting fault or that your injuries are not too serious. The danger of these questions is that you may not realize that your answer hurts your claim.
- Giving incomplete answers. No matter how hard you try, you could forget important details or not give a sufficient answer. The insurance company will twist this to use against you in negotiations of your claim.
- Providing too much information. You may provide unnecessary information because you feel you have nothing to hide. For example, if you had a pre-existing injury to the same body part injured in the crash, you know that the past injury has nothing to do with what you are experiencing now. However, the adjuster will try to claim that the prior injury caused your current one. There are many other pitfalls to giving too detailed answers.
- Giving incorrect information regarding your injuries. A recorded statement is taken soon after the accident. At that point, you do not know the extent of your injuries or your long-term prognosis. If you answer questions about your injuries or treatments, you could suggest the seriousness of your condition is different than it really is.
What Should You Do If You’re Asked to Give a Recorded Statement?
If an adjuster contacts you for a recorded statement—or for any other reason—you want the help of an experienced car accident attorney who can take over communications with the insurance adjuster and negotiate a fair settlement for you. Call our office at 855.947.0707 to schedule your free case evaluation.