After you’ve been in a car crash and reported it to your insurance provider, you can expect the insurer will reach out and request you give a recorded statement on the accident. But what exactly is a recorded statement, why do insurers need it, and what should you tell them? Keep reading to find out, as we answer all that, plus give you tips for providing insurance adjusters with recorded statements.
Why do insurers want recorded statements?
Insurance companies are businesses. And while their goals are often to help, they’re driven by profits too. Just because your insurer is your insurer doesn’t mean they’ll act with your best interest in mind 100% of the time. Recorded statements are intended to provide your account of the crash, but they can also be twisted and used against you at a later date.
How a statement can hurt you
Many insurance companies will reach out to a car crash victim as soon as they can. Their goal is to reach you before you have fully recovered or contacted a lawyer. It’s during these circumstances their questioning techniques can lead you to admit fault or give inaccurate statements that undermine your ability to receive compensation.
For example, in many car accidents, injury symptoms aren’t realized until days or weeks after the accident occurred. If an insurance company reaches out and conversationally asks how you’re doing, you might tell them you’re doing okay. But when the extent of your injuries reveal themselves, you could be unable to receive the appropriate compensation because you previously told the insurance company you were ‘okay,’ despite assuming it was a simple pleasantry.
Finally, recordings can be detrimental to your case because they’re simply not as clear as written statements. The turns of phrase we use in day-to-day speech (’I’m fine, thanks— you?’) can be deliberately misconstrued to prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve, whereas written statements can be exacted to the precise meaning you intend. Providing a written statement may be a better route, but always consult with your attorney before giving a statement to an insurer.
Do you have to give a statement?
To The Other Driver’s Insurance:
There’s virtually no reason why you would need to provide the other driver’s insurance company with a recorded statement. If you’re asked to do so, either refuse or consult with a lawyer experienced in dealing with Wisconsin car crashes before giving a recorded statement.
To Your Own Insurer:
Now you might be asking, what if my own insurance company wants a recorded statement? You may be contractually obligated to work with them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself. You can inform your insurer that you’d like to either have an attorney present or consult with one before the recorded statement.
If the crash leads to litigation, recorded statements you provide to your insurance company could potentially be used by the other driver’s insurance company as well. Because of this, it’s incredibly important that you’re careful about what you say when and if you provide a statement, regardless of whether it’s to your own insurer or the other driver’s insurer.
Best Practices When Giving a Statement
If you consult an attorney experienced in car accident personal injury and insurance litigation, they’ll provide you with highly-specific directions for your particular circumstances. However, if you must speak to your insurer, make sure to do the following:
- Never admit fault: Admitting fault in any way will make it very difficult to get the compensation you deserve, and can make the insurance litigation process even more complex.
- Be concise: Only answer the questions asked of you. Don’t volunteer information, and be very clear in your statements, leaving no room for confusion or misinterpretation.
- Don’t speculate: If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so. Similarly, if you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification instead of answering what you think they may have meant. Guessing or theorizing about who’s at fault or what happened can provide insurance companies with ammunition for disputing your claims and refusing you the proper compensation.
- Enlist the help of an attorney: An attorney experienced in dealing with car crashes will know how to handle the questions being asked by an insurance agency. When you hire an attorney who can communicate directly with the insurance company, you’re making a wise choice and protecting yourself.
Pasternak & Zirgibel Can Help
A car crash can be a traumatic experience, and the aftermath is stressful enough without having to navigate the complex and sometimes-deceptive questions asked by insurance companies. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone; you can protect your rights and your wellbeing after a crash by consulting with attorneys who will stand up to insurance companies.
Frank Pasternak and Jeff Zirgibel are experienced and trusted personal injury attorneys with over 55 years of combined legal experience, helping people who were injured or killed in crashes deal with insurance companies and get the treatment you deserve.
Don’t risk the justice you deserve. To schedule a free case evaluation, contact Pasternak and Zirgibel today.