After an accident, your insurance company will likely ask you to provide a recorded statement about the event. What seems like a reasonable way for your insurance provider to help you is, in reality, the exact opposite. They are looking for any possible way to use your words against you and save themselves money. Don't make the mistake of sending your insurance company a statement without legal supervision. Instead, contact the experienced attorneys at Warshafsky Law.
Giving a statement to the insurance company: Why you should wait Giving a statement to the insurance company: Why you should wait
A Recorded Statement Is A Tool To Trip You Up. Don’t Go Into It Unprepared
In a perfect world your recorded statement to your insurance company would be an opportunity to give your side of the story and make your case for what you deserve in compensation for your damages following an auto accident. In reality, they already know how much they want to offer you and your recorded statement is for them to see how much they can knock off that number.
An insurance company might pressure you to give a recorded statement, but there are 4 very good reasons to delay until you’ve had time to speak to a lawyer:
1. You Don't Have To Do It On Their Schedule
The most important reason to tell an insurance adjuster “I need to speak with my lawyer first” is that you simply don’t have to give a recorded statement right away. They may pressure you or make it seem like their hands are tied until they get you on record, but that is all bluster.
The only reason they want your statement now is to catch you unprepared. If you haven’t spoken to a lawyer, gotten your information organized and done your research it’s highly likely that you’ll trip up and say something that they can use to slash your payment. There are no negative consequences for telling an insurance company that you don't want to give them a recorded statement right now.
2. Insurance Adjusters Are Pros At Minimizing Payouts
The person asking you questions during a recorded statement spends 40+ hours a week perfecting the art of getting people to shoot themselves in the foot. Even if you’ve prepared for their questioning, you’re still going up against a seasoned interrogator who has made a living saving insurance companies money.
Unless you’re an insurance adjuster or practicing prosecutor, it’s unlikely that you have the experience needed to navigate the minefield of a recorded statement.
3. Anything You Say Can And WILL Be Used Against You
During a recorded statement your insurance adjuster will be scrutinizing every word you say, probing your answers for weaknesses and trying to figure out how to use your words against you to save the company money.
It’s ALWAYS a good idea to speak to a lawyer before you give a recorded statement, or even have one present during the interview. Here are a few tips for if you decide to give a recorded statement by yourself:
- Keep your answers as brief as possible
- Don’t volunteer any information they don’t ask for
- Don’t explain anything you’re not asked to explain
- Refuse to answer any question that you don’t completely understand
- Don’t admit any fault
- NEVER sign anything until a lawyer has looked at it.
4. It's More Likely To Hurt Than Help
Your recorded statement isn’t for your benefit, it’s for theirs. It’s a chance for them to get you to admit fault and so that they can reduce or completely deny your claim. Your job during the recorded statement isn’t to fire back, it’s to make sure you don’t give them ammunition to use against you.
It’s likely that after consulting a lawyer, handling your recorded statement correctly, and making the case that your settlement is insufficient, an insurance company will be forced to go on the defensive. If their strategy shifts to bullying and threats, you have them on the ropes. Hiring an experienced lawyer to have your back can help you get the compensation you deserve for your damages.