Even before you leave your hospital bed, the insurance adjuster for the negligent driver who hit you could be contacting you. He may tell you he is collecting information to process your claim and ask you to give a recorded statement as part of this process. He could sound like a nice person concerned about your health, and this could be true about him. However, he works for the other driver’s insurance company and part of his job is to reduce or deny your claim. If you get such a request, you should say no and contact an experienced car accident attorney for advice as soon as possible.
What Is a Recorded Statement?
A recorded statement is a question and answer session conducted by the insurance adjuster that is tape recorded and later used to create a written document. It can be taken over the telephone or in person—usually in the insurance adjuster’s office. Even if you know you did nothing wrong and have nothing to hide, you do not want to agree to give one. Why? The adjuster could trick you into saying something you did not mean or that hurts your case.
You Are Not Required to Give a Recorded Statement
The insurance adjuster may imply or strongly suggest that you must give a recorded statement before your claim can be paid. This is blatantly untrue. Under Georgia law, you are not required to give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance adjuster. Giving a recorded statement is rarely in your best interests. You do not want to even give an oral statement without first discussing it with your attorney.
Why the Insurance Adjuster Really Wants You to Give a Recorded Statement
Insurance companies are businesses, and their goal is to make money. They do this by denying and reducing claims—even legitimate ones. So the purpose of your recorded statement is not to quickly pay you what you deserve. It is the opposite: delay, deny, or reduce your claim. An insurance adjuster uses your recorded statement to do this in the following ways:
- Inconsistent statements. The insurance adjuster will compare what you say in your recorded statement with what you told the police officer or anyone else. The goal is to find inconsistent statements to reduce your credibility or to claim you are lying.
- Trick questions. The insurance adjuster is skilled in asking questions that trick you into saying something that you did not mean and that could hurt your case, such as downplaying your injuries. You may not even realize you are doing this.
- Incomplete answers. If you do not understand the question, you could give an incomplete or wrong answer that could later be twisted or misinterpreted. In addition, you could forget to mention important details and information that could support your claim.
- Too much information. You may feel like you have nothing to hide and offer more information than is being asked for. This could lead to you saying something, for example, about a preexisting injury to the same body part hurt now, that could give the adjuster ammunition to fight about your claim.
- Too soon to know your injuries. The adjuster could ask you questions about your injuries that you would honestly answer. However, this soon after your accident, you may not really know the full extent of your injuries, the long-term treatments you could need, or your prognosis. Your answers could be unintentionally inaccurate and downplay the seriousness of your injuries.
- Statements used against you. Any statements you make can be used against you in court hearings and at trial—even though your recorded statement is not given under oath.
What Should You Do If You Gave a Recorded Statement?
If you gave a recorded statement, you should not feel like you ruined your case. Take the right next step by contacting an experienced car accident attorney right away who knows how to handle these potential problems. David Brauns has the added advantage of having worked for insurance companies in the past and understands their strategies better than many attorneys. Start an online chat or call our firm at (404) 998-5252 to schedule a free case evaluation with David.