Are You Required to Provide a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company?
It can be hard to know who is on your side after any type of accident. For instance, an insurance claims adjuster may seem to want to help you. The adjuster may be friendly, accommodating, and reasonable. But in reality, claims adjusters have one main objective – to settle your claim for as little as possible and protect the insurance company’s bottom line. In order to achieve this, the adjuster may use various tactics. One such tactic is to ask you for a recorded statement.
What to Expect During a Discussion with an Insurance Claims Adjuster?
Do not talk to an insurance claim adjuster if you feel confused, disoriented, in serious pain, fatigued, or are on medication after an accident. This discussion could have important implications for the future of your claim. Speak to the insurance adjuster only when you feel composed, alert, and adequately prepared.
Before your conversation with an insurance claims adjuster, it is always a good idea to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. It is well within your rights to do so. You need an attorney who will consider your best interest when offering advice on what to say and what not to say.
How to Respond to Requests for a Recorded Statement
The request for a recorded statement might arise during your initial phone call with an insurance claims adjuster. The recorded statement represents your side of the story, which the adjuster will record for potential use in the future.
You are not obligated to agree to provide a recorded statement under any federal or state law. If you are dealing with your own insurer, you are required to cooperate with them under the terms and conditions of your policy, which might include providing a statement. But you are under no such obligation when you are dealing with the other party’s insurer, and in general, providing such a statement will not benefit you. Rather, it could be used to hurt your claim.
In a bid to get claimants to slip up and say wrong things, adjusters could employ recorded statements as a tool. In the initial few days after the accident, asking for these statements is often intentional. The insurance provider hopes to acquire the statement before you have had an opportunity to talk to investigators or attorneys about the accident. For instance, you might not have noticed your neck and back pain yet, and your recorded statement might state that you are not seriously injured.
If you experience pain the next day, consult the doctor and learn that you have a herniated disk from the incident, the insurer will already have a recorded statement to the effect that you have no injuries. In such circumstances, it could be much more difficult for you to get compensation.
Your idea of who or what led to the accident might change as you learn more details. But if you have already recorded a statement to the contrary, the insurance company could potentially use it to present you as an undependable witness. This could sway the courts or the insurance company against you during claim negotiations, even if you had no intention of being dishonest. The insurer has the right to use your statement in any manner that it sees it.
You reserve the right to politely decline to provide a recorded statement to your adjuster. In addition, you are entitled to postpone this area of your claim until after you have consulted a doctor and/or attorney and better understand your rights. You could state that you would rather offer a written statement rather than have the insurance adjuster record one over the phone.
After all of that, you are entitled to hire a personal injury attorney to take over discussions with an insurance adjuster on your behalf. Working with an attorney during the claims process can ensure full protection of your legal rights.
The Repercussions of Making a Recorded Statement
The following can hurt accident victims’ claims:
- Minimizing their injuries
- Misspeaking due to nervousness
- Offering incorrect information due to not understanding the question, lack of knowledge, or being under the influence of pain drugs
- Offering more information than necessary
- Admitting responsibility for a part of the entire accident
- Committing to a response that is later disproven by other proof involved in the claim
Things to Understand if You Decide to Provide a Statement
No law requires you to provide a statement to the other party’s insurer, whether recorded or otherwise. There are, however, specific steps you can undertake to protect your personal injury claim, should you choose to provide a statement to an insurance adjuster:
- Offer factual and concise statements
- Request that your statement not be recorded
- Do not exaggerate or minimize your injuries
- Avoid offering opinions or making guesses
- It is alright to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t recall” if this is an honest response
- Be forthright even if you believe it will hurt your claim
- Only respond to the question being asked
- Do not consent to release your medical records by signing a release form
Legal Help from Client-Focused Personal Injury Attorneys in Kentucky
If an insurance adjuster contacts you asking for a recorded statement or any other reason, it is wise to seek legal counsel first. Even if you want to provide a statement, consulting an attorney first will give them a chance to review your statement and advise you before you proceed. At John H Ruby and Associates, we are well-aware of the tactics that insurance companies use to diminish the value of an accident claim. If you hire us to represent you, we will handle communications with the insurer and negotiate the maximum possible compensation on your behalf. Call today at (502) 895-2626 or message us online to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.