Insurance Company Statements: What You Should Know About Injury Claims and Recorded Statements
If you have been a victim of an incident that resulted in injury, you may be considering filing a personal injury claim. Before you even talk with the other party's insurance company, you need to reach out to a personal injury lawyer. He or she can provide you with essential guidance to protect your potential claim. For example, did you know that recorded statements can be detrimental to your claim? Here's a look at what you should know about recorded statements and your injury claim.
Don't You Have to Give a Statement if Asked?
No, you actually don't have to provide any recorded statements to the claims adjuster or other insurance company representative. In fact, if anyone from the insurance company calls you, you have the legal right to refuse to talk with them without your attorney present for guidance. Additionally, in most states, insurance companies require verbal consent in order to record your phone conversation or statement. Most states have what is called a two-party consent law, which means that everyone involved in the conversation must consent to its recording, otherwise it cannot legally be recorded.
Why Shouldn't You Give a Recorded Statement?
A recorded statement, once given to the insurance company, becomes evidence in your claim. Unfortunately, since insurance claims adjusters have far more experience with legal terminology and guidelines than you do, they can often trick unsuspecting claimants into making statements on record that will eventually negate their claim. For example, the claims adjuster may ask you a lot of questions about what led up to the accident. In the case of a car accident, they may ask for details such as what lane you were in, how fast you were going, whether or not you were on the phone, and more. Any details you provide can be used to determine liability. That means it could also result in you being found liable in the eyes of the insurance company. Even if you inadvertently overestimate your speed or make a slip of the tongue in your statement, once it's said and recorded, it becomes fact in evidence. Additionally, the adjuster may ask you about any pain or issues at the time of the accident. If you weren't physically in pain but were just sore, they could easily cut you off at "no" and fail to allow the rest of the information on the record. This could lead to your claim being denied under a belief that your injuries happened after the fact and were not a result of the accident.
What Should You Do if the Insurance Company Calls?
If the other party's insurance company calls you to discuss the incident and your injuries, it's tempting to talk with them. Claims adjusters know how to present themselves as your friend and as someone who is trying to help you. They aren't. They are trying to save their company money. When you answer a call from the insurance company, tell them immediately that you don't wish to answer any questions or discuss the incident without consulting your attorney first. Give them the name and phone number of your attorney and request that all communication be directed to them.
This protects you legally and gives you a professional resource to help preserve your insurance claim.