The Dos & Don’ts of Making a Recorded Statement
When you file an accident claim with an insurance company, you may be asked to make a recorded statement. Everything you do and say in the process of working with the insurance company and documenting your accident can affect the final result of your claim, and the recorded statement is no exception.
Before you respond to anything the insurance company asks you for, take your time to consider your options and think about what would be best for your insurance claim. Use this guide of important things to do or not do in securing proper compensation for your damages.
Don’t Give a Statement Unless You Have to
The representative of the insurance company may tell you right from the start that you have to give a recorded statement. This sounds reasonable because they want to hear your side of the story and you want to cooperate. You should think twice before you agree, however. In most cases, there is no legal requirement for you to give a recorded statement. If you are filing a claim with another driver’s insurance company, you have no contract with them that could require your collaboration.
When you give a statement, you are putting yourself at the mercy of the claims adjuster to ask you questions and look for answers that they can use against you. Their job is to find reasons to justify denying your claim or reducing the damages they give you. If you can, avoid giving a statement and share your version of events in a different way.
Do Speak to a Lawyer First
If you are going to give a recorded statement, or you’re considering agreeing to give it and don’t know how to refuse, speak to an attorney first. The insurance company doesn’t have your best interests in mind and you can’t necessarily trust them to communicate openly and honestly.
Find an attorney you trust to discuss your legal obligations and find the best way forward for your case. The attorney can tell you if you have to give a statement or not. If you have no other choice, your lawyer will also be able to accompany you and help you prepare for a recorded statement. Tell the insurance company you’re not ready if they pressure you before you’ve had time to get legal counsel.
Do Take Care With What You Say
If you are going to give a statement, you need to put significant time in beforehand to think about exactly what you’re going to say. Make an outline for yourself of your remarks and practice them with your attorney and other trusted individuals. This statement is going to be recorded, so you won’t be able to take back anything you say.
After you share your testimony, you are going to be asked a lot of specific questions about the case. Go over common questions you might be asked and make sure you know what you will say if they ask you. Never speculate when asked something. If you don’t know the answer to a question, simply tell them that you don’t know.
You want to be completely honest and cooperative, but don’t let yourself deviate from the strict facts of the case. Informal comments or tangential complaints could be used as part of the record to diminish the significance of your injuries or imply that you share fault for the accident. Your personal issues or other events in your life happening before or after the event have nothing to do with the accident and should not be part of your testimony.
Don’t Trust the Claim Adjuster to Help You
The claim adjuster is not there to guide you through your case and get you your compensation. They are there representing the company’s interests, looking for holes and opportunities in your story that they can use to your disadvantage. That’s why it’s essential that you have an attorney there to be on your side. If you get confused or don’t know how to respond to a question, you can stop the statement at any time and speak with your lawyer.
Don’t let the person asking you questions bully you or intimidate you. Even if they seem impatient, take as much time as you need to think and consider your answers before you respond. Stick to the facts of your story and don’t let them pressure you or trick you to accept suggestions or additions to your story that simply aren’t true.
You should be friendly and cooperative with the adjuster, but don’t trust them or make any assumptions. Ask to receive copies of both the audio recording and the transcript they create for your statement. An extra step for security would be to record the statement for yourself as well. This way you’ll be able to look back at exactly what you said in the future if the case continues. In the end, it’s up to you and your attorney to stand up for yourself and make sure you get what you deserve.