After an accident, you’ll likely find that you have a long to-do list. From getting an estimate for your car repairs to getting the medical attention you need, you have more tasks than you have time. Then the phone calls start. Your insurance company is sure to call, and if the other party appears to be at fault, you should also expect a phone call from their insurance provider.
But what should you do if they ask you to provide a recorded statement? Talk to us first. Give Mann & Potter a call at 205-879-9661 to discuss your rights and options now.
Before you decide whether or not to give a recorded statement, consider who’s asking. If it’s your insurance company, you may have to comply. There isn’t a legal requirement to do so, but it is likely part of the contract you signed when you chose them as an insurance company. Refusing to cooperate with their investigation could cause them to drop you as a client, leaving you without recourse.
However, it is different when the other party’s company is requesting a recorded statement. You do not have a contractual agreement with them, so the only reason you would give a statement is out of your own free will. This generally isn’t a good idea without first talking to a lawyer, which you’ll learn below.
How Your Statement Can Work Against You, So Communicate Carefully
In situations like this, talking to the other party’s insurance company is a lot like talking to the police when they’re investigating a crime. Anything you tell them won’t be used to exonerate you. It will only be used if it can hurt you or strengthen their claim.
Maybe the first time you talked to them, you told them that your first symptom of an injury was a headache. Then, in your recorded statement, you say that the neck pain started first. This is a negligible difference that doesn’t really mean anything, but you can expect the insurance company to act like it does mean something. They’ll jump on this difference and use it as an example of your story changing, giving them more room to cast doubt on the rest of your story.
Likewise, “Maybe my car drifted” can be interpreted as “I drifted into the other driver’s lane,” which gives them a lot less room to advocate for you with the other insurance company. Before you talk to them, write down the facts of the accident. Review them and get rid of anything that is opinion or theory.
Basically, a if you’re not careful, your recorded statement can hurt you. They’re already doing everything they can to avoid paying you a fair settlement, so don’t make it easier for them. Remember, it’s ok not to give a statement immediately. Wait until after you talk to our attorneys.
They Aren’t on Your Side
The insurance company isn’t on your side, but you obviously can’t expect the insurance adjuster to tell you the truth about that. As we mentioned earlier, they’ll often be as friendly as possible, so you let your guard down and get comfortable with them. Remember that everything they do is to protect their own bottom line.
Claiming Responsibility Doesn’t Mean They’ll Offer a Fair Settlement
A lot of people breathe a sigh of relief when the insurance adjuster says that they are accepting responsibility for the accident. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It means they are willing to admit that their client is at fault, but nothing more. It doesn’t mean they’ll make things right by paying you a full and fair settlement.
They often say this to acknowledge their client’s role and make you feel like you’re getting a good offer—right before they offer an insultingly low settlement offer. When people hear that the insurance company is accepting responsibility, they often assume that they don’t need to hire an attorney. Again, this is done intentionally. The insurance company knows that when victims hire attorneys, they lose the upper hand.
Your Property Damage Will Likely Be Underpaid
You paid for your vehicle and lost it (or need to have it repaired) because of someone else’s actions. But now you have to fight for every penny you deserve for a repair? That’s not fair, but the insurance companies do not care. They care about their own client’s vehicles, but they have no incentive to give you a large chunk of money for your totaled car or your vehicle repairs.
Instead of trying to fight for a fair settlement on your own, get your car insurance company involved. They also have a vested interest in getting your claim paid by the liable party, and they will likely do a much better job of getting a fair amount for you.
What to Do If You Are Asked for a Statement
So, if giving a recorded statement isn’t recommended, what should you do if they ask for one? Before you speak to the insurance company at all, it’s recommended that you speak with a personal injury attorney.
Not only can your recorded statement be used against you, but so can anything else you say in communication with the insurance provider. That’s why all communication should go through your attorney, rather than going through you directly.
When you work with an attorney, you can talk to them about your experience and how it’s affected your life. From there, they’ll decide what’s best for your claim and how to move forward. In rare circumstances, your attorney may recommend that you make a recorded statement. Most of the time, though, they’ll build a case without you speaking directly to the insurance provider.
Remember, the future of your personal injury claim rests largely on how well you work with your attorney. The other party’s insurance company is waiting for you to trip up so they can decrease their settlement offer or take it away completely. You don’t deserve to be left with a stack of medical bills and lost wages because of someone else’s negligence. Instead of taking on the insurance company by yourself, choose an attorney you can trust to fight for you.
The Mann & Potter Team is Here for Your Personal Injury Needs
A serious injury can cause you significant stress, pain, and financial loss. That’s why we work so hard to help our clients get the compensation they deserve. If you’re left out of work, in pain, and without a vehicle because of someone else’s mistake, they should be held accountable. Schedule a consultation now. Call us today at 205-879-9661 or reach out to our team online.