One of the trickier aspects to filing a claim with your insurance company is being asked to give a recorded statement. A recorded statement is an interview with an adjuster from the insurance company following an accident, in which the adjuster will go through a question and answer session with you regarding the incident and the injuries that you sustained. However, before agreeing to give a recorded statement, there are a few important facts that can be beneficial to know when deciding if and how to proceed.
If an adjuster asks for your permission to take a recorded statement, you may wonder what your response should be. “Well, going back to Nancy Reagan in the 1980s in the war on drugs,” says attorney David Gordon. “She said, ‘just say no’ and that’s your response when you’re asked to give a recorded statement.” Regardless of how you politely phrase it, your answer should always be no.
You may have the preconceived belief that you are always required to give a recorded statement when prompted to, yet, in most instances, you are under no legal obligation to give one.
There are two main reasons as to why you should turn down giving a statement. The first is that the goal of the insurance adjuster is to find fault in your actions, because this can allow them to reduce the amount of money the company owes you. Furthermore, if they can find enough fault in you, they may be able to deny the claim entirely, and leave you without any payment.
Secondly, in the event that the adjuster is unable to find fault with you, they may try to find ways to pay you as little as possible. The easiest way to do this is to find errors in your recorded statement that contradict the facts of the accident. Therefore, if they have your recorded statement and you talked about information that turned out to be inaccurate or wrong, they can use it against you when deciding on your claim’s value.
In the event that you are required to give a recorded statement, such as when making a claim against your own insurance company, there are few things you should do in preparation. The first step in preparing is to go back to the scene of the accident. Once there, reorient and familiarize yourself with the scene and try to recall exactly how you got injured.
The second step is to obtain a copy of the police or incident report. The report oftentimes contains fundamental details of the accident such as the time it occurred, the names of the roads, the speed limit for the area, the direction cars were traveling, and more. This report will provide further facts of the accident.
Lastly, when giving a recorded statement, there are three rules that you should try to abide by.
Rule number one is that you should always be courteous and polite with the adjuster. Not only is the conversation recorded and documented, but the adjuster is the person who ultimately decides if, and how much, you get paid.
Rule number two, be brief in your responses. Do not give any more detail than necessary to answer the current question. Listen carefully to the question, answer it, and stop.
Rule number three, do not guess. If you are unsure if you know the answer to the question, do not feel as if you must give an answer. Rather, you can say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” instead.
When you file a claim for an accident, all details, regardless of how minute or unimportant they may seem to you, can carry significant weight in the adjuster’s decision. Therefore, it is crucial to understand their importance and to appropriately comprehend how they could be used against you when filing a claim. For any questions you may have regarding recorded statements or any other aspects of your personal injury case, reach out to the Law Offices of David E. Gordon today.