In the aftermath of a car accident, your insurance company, as well as the company for the at-fault driver, will try to determine who is responsible for the damages. During this process, either company may ask for the victim to give a “recorded statement” about the claim. It is important to remain cautious if you give a recorded statement for insurance claims, because it could unfairly decrease the value of your case.
WHY DOES AN INSURANCE COMPANY ASK FOR A RECORDED STATEMENT?
There are several situations in which an insurance company might request to take a recorded statement. If you reported the crash to your insurance company, it may want a statement to determine who is at fault for the accident. The insurance company may also want information about the extent of your damages and injuries.
The at-fault carrier will often request an insurance statement from everyone, including the victim. Its aim is to limit the responsibility of the at-fault party and to place some blame on the victim, if possible. The at-fault carrier may be pushy, stating that the claim can’t move forward unless a statement is provided.
DO I HAVE TO PROVIDE AN INSURANCE STATEMENT?
There is no duty for the victim to provide an insurance statement to a third-party or at-fault provider. While the at-fault carrier may make it seem like this recorded statement has to be provided, it is never required. Recorded insurance statements provided to the at-fault provider can be used against you during litigation.
If your own insurance provider is requesting a recorded statement, your insurance policy (which is considered a contract) may require you to cooperate. Keep in mind that even a statement to your own insurance company can later be used against your interests in the litigation. For instance, if the defendant driver did not have insurance at all, then your UM (uninsured motorist) coverage may be needed to compensate you for your claim. Even though you would be making a claim against your insurance policy, the company will want to limit the amount it has to pay you for your claim.
WHAT ARE COMMON MISTAKES MADE WHEN PROVIDING AN INSURANCE STATEMENT?
If you decide, or are required, to provide a recorded statement to an insurance company, it is important to keep your guard up. The insurance provider for the at-fault party may ask you questions that are very specific or impossible to answer. These questions are intended to overwhelm you into providing more information than necessary.
In addition, questions may contain traps that could be used against you during future litigation. For example, you could provide a recorded insurance statement saying that you don’t have neck pain after the accident. However, if the pain develops later, your earlier statement could be used against you during litigation.
HOW CAN A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY HELP WHEN PROVIDING AN INSURANCE STATEMENT?
Most personal injury lawyers or accident attorneys will caution against providing a recorded statement to the at-fault carrier. But in certain cases, and when dealing with the client’s own insurance company, a recorded insurance statement can be needed. Habush Habush & Rottier personal injury attorneys have extensive experience working with clients to prepare for recorded insurance statements.
If you are being asked to provide a recorded insurance statement, a Habush Habush & Rottier personal injury attorney can help you navigate the process. Contact us to learn how we can help.