A Recorded Statement After an Accident is a Bad Idea
Giving a recorded statement is generally never a good idea after being in a car accident. The insurance company of the person that hit you is attempting to gather information that will assist them in deciding how to handle your claim. The more information the adjuster gets from you, especially within the first couple of days after the accident, the more tools he will have to reduce and maybe even deny your claim.
Typical Questions an Insurance Adjuster Will Ask After an Accident:
Adjuster: Hello, this is Tom from Auto Insurance Company, I have a report here that you were in an accident. Is that correct?
You: Yes, that is correct.
Adjuster: Sorry to hear that. I am working on getting your claim started so we can get you taken care of, but I need to ask you a few questions. Do you have a few minutes?
You: I guess so.
Adjuster: Great. Now, in order for me to make sure I get everything correct, I am going to record our conversation. Is that OK, I just want to be positive that I get your side of the story.
You: I think that should be fine.
Adjuster: OK, let’s get started. Can you tell me about the accident?
You: Yeah, I was driving down Main Street when out of nowhere came this car…And, then I went to the hospital.
Adjuster: Sympathetically That sounds awful. Can you tell me where you were coming from?
Adjuster: Where were you going? What were you doing immediately before the accident?
Adjuster: Why didn’t you see the car coming at you? (Trying to place blame)
Adjuster: Did you have your cell phone in the car with you? (Again, trying to place blame)
Adjuster: How far away was the car when you first noticed it? (Now here’s a trick question)
Adjuster: How much time passed between when you saw the car and when you felt the impact? (Trying to see if you could have avoided the accident.)
Adjuster: I am sorry but I have to ask this question, did you have any alcohol any time before the accident? How about the night before, and if so, how much did you have to drink? Are you taking any prescriptions? Cold medicine?(Blame, blame, blame)
Adjuster: Were you injured?
Adjuster: And those injuries were from the impact?
Adjuster: OK. So your back, neck and knee were hurt in the wreck? Anything else?
Adjuster: Have you had problems with your back before? (Trying to minimize your injury)
Adjuster: So you have never been to a chiropractor? (Again…minimize, minimize)
Adjuster: Have you seen any medical providers for your injuries?
Adjuster: It sounds as though you are getting better. Would you agree?(Minimize)
Adjuster: Well, that’s all the questions I have right now, you will be hearing from us very soon with an offer. I hope we can work this out between just me and you to avoid any additional expenses.
After the call, the adjuster will review your answers and listen to the recording again to see if he can use it in any way to minimize the damage to the insurance company. It makes you really think. Why would the insurance adjuster need to take your statement? Isn’t all of the information he provided you available between the crash report and any investigation by law enforcement? Does the adjuster really need to invade your privacy with questions about your past? (The answer is “No” by the way.) Isn’t it a little early to be talking about a settlement? And what is this added expense to you that he is referring too? Is he trying to prevent you from hiring a lawyer?
An Attorney Can Help You When Asked for a Recorded Statement by an Insurance Adjuster
Insurance adjusters will do anything to minimize the financial exposure to the insurance company and rip you off in the process. His bosses want him to get the claim settled as quickly as possible for the least amount of money that he can. He is not concerned about your health or if you still have issues. He is not concerned about your job and how this accident affected it. He is not concerned about your future medical costs or if you need additional treatment. He wants to get you to sign a release as fast as possible. (Do not sign a release or any other document without speaking to an attorney first!)
Don’t let the insurance company win. There is no reason (unless it is your own insurance and you have to according to your policy) that they should need a recorded statement from you other than to use it to their advantage.