Frequently Asked Questions - Do Not Give a Recorded Statement To Insurance Companies
Auto accidents can be extremely confusing, stressful, costly and time consuming. People can get quite emotional during this time in their life and can say things that unintentionally can hurt their claim. If you have been involved in an auto accident, insurance adjusters asking for a recorded statement are a common occurrence. When you call to report your accident, the claims department will ask you for the details of the accident. Usually they inform you when they pick up the phone that the call is being recorded. Always keep this in mind and remember that any information you provide them with can later be used against you if your claim ends up in litigation. The recorded statement can be introduced at trial and can be played for a judge and jury to listen to. If there is anything that contradicts your later statements or if you state you are not injured at the time of the statement, this can be construed by the jury as you are a liar and trying to defraud the insurance company. Even if you develop injuries over the next several days, the jury will hear that initial statement which can cause doubt to anyone trying to determine if you should be awarded a settlement amount for your injuries.
After your claim has been open with all insurance companies involved in the accident, your file will be assigned to an adjuster. The adjusters will contact you for additional information and will probably ask you for a recorded statement right there and then. If you are injured and you are planning on hiring an attorney for your personal injury claim against the insurance company, do not provide them with any type of statement. Inform the adjuster that you are going to be hiring an attorney to assist you with your claim. The adjuster may try to deter you from hiring an attorney as they are well aware that an attorney can process your claim and obtain a much higher settlement amount for you. Insurance companies are in the business of saving themselves as much money as possible and will always try to settle your claim for as little money as possible. If you hire a personal injury attorney to represent you, the insurance company will likely pay much more money towards your claim if you have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Even if you do not plan on hiring an attorney to represent you for your claim, it is probably not a good idea to provide a recorded statement to the at fault insurance company. You can always inform them that you are more comfortable providing a non-recorded statement. This way, they do not have a recording of you which they can later use against you.
If your own insurance company requests a recorded statement, this is unfortunately unavoidable as in the State of Florida, your own insurance company has the right to take a recorded statement, per the terms of your insurance policy which you signed. If you are planning on hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you, be sure to inform the insurance adjuster and let them know you would feel more comfortable having your attorney on the call also. Once you hire an attorney, the attorney’s office will provide the insurance company with a letter of representation which then informs the insurance company that they must contact your attorney’s office if they still require a recorded statement. This is something that your attorney’s office will arrange and a representative from your attorney’s office will be on the phone call with you while you are providing your statement. Personal injury attorneys normally do not allow a recorded statement to the at fault insurance company unless there are extenuating circumstances which require a statement for the insurance company to make a liability decision. Usually if this is the case, your attorney will require a non-recorded statement be taken.
Recorded statements can be harmful in some situations as you may have gotten details mixed up or said something inaccurate by mistake. Defense attorneys always review recorded statements when it comes to litigation claims to see if there is anything at all, no matter how minor, to use against you in order to have your claim denied or make you look like a liar in front of a jury. If you had provided a non-recorded statement, the only thing the jury or opposing counsel would be able to see are any notes the adjuster had taken down which can be noted as hear say and not completely accurate. If there is anything in your recorded statement that the opposing counsel could use against you, they will usually inform your attorney of their opinion and will either make a very small nuisance settlement offer or will completely deny your claim. If your own attorney agrees with the opposing counsel that the recorded statement will sabotage your claim, your attorney will probably withdraw from your claim if they see no other way around it.
For these reasons, it is always a great idea to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately after an auto accident. A personal injury attorney will explain your rights, benefits and options to you in the beginning so you can be fully informed of the best way to handle your case moving forward. Your attorney will guide you through the steps to make your claim as strong as possible without having to provide too much information to the insurance company up front.
Recorded statements are never a good idea whether you plan on hiring an attorney or not. If you are in doubt as to what information you should give the insurance company, always tell them you will provide a non-recorded statement to save yourself a headache down the road. If you end up having to hire a personal injury attorney to represent you, they will thank you for not providing a recorded statement which can hurt your case.