Often the liable insurance company will contact a crash victim and request a recorded statement within days of a collision. While the claims adjuster making this call may sound friendly and helpful, you should be aware of the real reason for this request.
Insurance companies know they may easily catch injured victims off guard, especially if they are still at home and recovering. Read below to be forewarned about recorded statements, including why you should not agree to give one.
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What is a Recorded Statement in a Car Crash Claim?
If you agree to a recorded statement, the claims adjuster will ask you a series of questions about your car crash. Both the questions and your answers are recorded and later transcribed. Each side will get a copy of the final document. Any statements you make can later be used as evidence against you.
The questions themselves may seem harmless, but make no mistake there is a reason why they are being asked. The claims adjuster may often ask the same question more than once, framing it differently each time. This is a tactic often used to try to catch people not being fully honest. However, this approach could also cause confusion and trip up a victim who really is injured.
Are Crash Victims Required to Record a Statement After a Crash?
Despite what the liable insurance company may say, crash victims are not required to record a statement. In fact, you do not even need to speak with the liable insurer. You do have to notify your insurance company about the accident to get your no-fault benefits. However, you can do that in writing.
The only exception to this may be if you are filing a first-party claim against your own insurance company. In this situation, your policy may have a clause requiring you to cooperate with their investigation. However, even then you may only have to provide a written account, and not necessarily a recorded statement. This is something you should discuss further with a knowledgeable attorney.
Why Do Insurers Ask Crash Victims to Record a Statement?
After a car crash caused by one of their policyholders, the liable insurance company has a focused task in mind. Specifically, they want to find a way to shift blame from their at-fault driver to you. Some of their tactics are underhanded because they take advantage of victims who do not know their legal rights.
One method that works really well is to have a claims adjuster call you. These employees may sound friendly and concerned about your injuries. Yet, be aware that what insurers really want is to get you to slip up and say things they can use to devalue or deny your claim.
What Are the Risks of Recording a Statement for a Car Crash Claim?
While it may seem harmless for a crash victim to record a statement, the exact opposite is true. Providing a recorded statement puts you at risk of unknowingly damaging your claim for these and other reasons:
You Do Not Yet Know the Full Extent of Your Injuries
After a car accident, you may not know the full extent of your injuries for weeks or even months. One prime example of this is when victims suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Some TBIs are more severe than others, but the full scope of the damage is rarely known right away. Even soft-tissue injuries can take days to fully develop.
The claims adjuster knows this, but will proceed to ask you questions about your injuries that you cannot possibly know the answer to yet. Since you do not know the severity of your injuries, anything you say could make them sound minor.
The Insurance Company May Find Inconsistencies
Insurers hope your recorded statement reveals holes in your account of the crash. If they are successful, they will use these inconsistencies to discredit your testimony and devalue your claim.
Coaxing You to Say Too Much
Insurance companies may also ask questions to try to get you chatting. Some of what they ask may be totally irrelevant to your claim. Injured crash victims may not even realize they have said too much until it is too late.
How You Phrase Your Responses Could Be Used to Devalue Your Claim
Asking you questions in a conversational way could illicit responses such as, “I’m okay” or “I’m doing fine.” Other phrases the insurance company will look for and try to use against you may include:
- “I feel guilty”, or other similar types of phrases
- Apologizing, which also can be used to imply fault
- Saying, “I think” makes you sound unsure about your response
- Phrases that describe the accident or your injuries differently from the day of the crash
- Statements that sound like your injury is minor or you do not actually have any injuries, such as, “I’m alright”
Seek Legal Help Before You Speak With the Insurance Company
If you are a crash victim who was asked to record a statement, we strongly recommend speaking with a knowledgeable attorney first. Our experienced auto accident lawyers in Flint have been helping injured victims for decades. During that time, we have recovered over $500 million on behalf of our clients.
We do not charge any upfront costs or fees if you decide to hire our services. We only get paid if we win your case.
Proven Results. (989) 244-0440