Do I Have To Give A Statement To The Other Driver’s Insurance?

February 28 2020 | Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
  • In this blog, we present a practical overview of what a recorded statement is and in which circumstances you may be asked to provide one. We also explore reasons why, in most circumstances, it is in your best interest to decline to give a recorded statement to someone else’s insurance company—and suggest what you might do instead.

    If you got hurt in an accident through no fault of your own in Kentucky or Tennessee, you may have the right to financial compensation for your injuries, and a Kentucky personal injury lawyer, or a Tennessee personal injury lawyer from our firm can help. But in order to be eligible for such compensation, you must follow the basic steps of a personal injury process.

    You initiate this process when you file a third-party claim with the insurance company of the person or entity responsible for your injuries. This is the official way to let the insurer know that you hold their client liable for your injuries and that you expect to be reimbursed for the consequential financial losses. Then the insurance company will assign your case to an adjuster who will contact you within a short time after you’ve filed the claim.

    Yet, if you think that a call from a claims adjuster means you are on the right track to receiving your compensation, you might be in for a bitter disappointment. The adjuster’s priority is his or her employer’s bottom line. This, unfortunately, means that the company will pay the smallest amount possible in compensation claims like yours. One common means to this end involves taking a recorded statement from the injured party.

    The adjuster may tell you that providing a recorded statement will expedite your personal injury process and help you obtain your compensation sooner. In reality, though, you are more likely to harm your case by giving such a statement.

    Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers often advise clients to decline to give a recorded statement to an adjuster, especially if they haven’t consulted their case with an attorney first. In this article, you will learn the 3 most important reasons behind this advice, plus a viable alternative to a recorded statement.

    Reason 1: You May Be Compromised by Your Injuries

    After an accident, your ability to focus, think straight, and answer questions may be severely compromised due to your injuries. The initial shock of going through a stressful, traumatizing experience may last for days—and the physical pain could cloud your ability to reason for weeks on end. You may also feel exhausted by the ongoing treatment or rehabilitation.

    All these factors may make it difficult for you to recall and relate your version of events in a coherent and logical manner. Claims adjusters know this, and they have been known to take advantage of the victim’s condition to subtly manipulate the conversation.

    Suppose you are recorded as saying that you are “not sure” about certain details of the accident or that you “can’t recall” them at the moment. These innocent statements may later be used by the insurance company to undermine the credibility of the compensation claim.

    Similarly, due to exhaustion or discomfort caused by the injuries, you may also inadvertently say something that could contradict a previous statement as recorded in the police report.

    Reason 2: You May Not Know the Full Extent of Your Injuries

    Another reason to avoid giving a recorded statement to a claims adjuster is that you may still be unaware of the full extent of your injuries. What feels like just a headache may turn out to be a mild traumatic brain injury with long-term consequences for your productivity; simple shoulder pain may be caused by a torn ligament or damaged tendon and require a complex operation followed by a period of long and exhaustive rehabilitation—and so on.

    Yet, if an adjuster asks you about your injuries shortly after the accident, you may classify them as minor and underestimate their impact on your life—which will no doubt result in an amount of compensation that is less likely to cover all your expenses and other losses.

    Reason 3: You Will Have No Access to Your Statement

    Once the conversation with the adjuster is over, only the insurance company and its legal representatives will have access to the recorded statement placed in your file. Why is this a potential problem?

    It may be difficult to remember every detail of every single statement you make in a lengthy conversation with the adjuster. This can prove to be problematic if your claim goes to court and you get cross-examined by the insurance company’s lawyer during a deposition or the actual lawsuit. If you say something that contradicts your initial recorded statement—to which the opposing lawyer will have access but you won’t—a skillful attorney will no doubt use such inconsistencies to the detriment of your claim.

    Are You Obliged to Give a Recorded Statement?

    It is important to know that you are by no means legally obliged to give a recorded statement to the claims adjuster. Even if the adjuster insists that refusing to make a statement will have negative consequences for your claim, it is actually your right—and in your best legal and financial interest—to politely decline.

    Instead, you may offer to present a written statement later on. However, even in such a case, it is beneficial to discuss the details with an experienced car accident attorney. With his or her help, you will ensure that your statement is precise, logical, and consistent with the rest of the evidence—which will, in turn, will help you present a claim with a high chance of success.

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