Author: Micah Longo
After an accident the insurance company will ask you to give a recorded statement. Should you give a recorded statement to the insurance company? The answer depends on who is asking. You are under no obligation to make a recorded statement unless your own insurance policy requires it. Almost every insurance policy has such a provision. Then, and ONLY then, should you make a recorded statement.
Do Not Volunteer Information
If you must give a recorded statement please remember DO NOT volunteer information. This cannot be emphasized enough! You should never volunteer statement to ANYONE if you don’t have to. Not to the police, witnesses, or insurance adjusters, unless required by law.
Florida is a comparative negligence state. This means, if you are found partially at-fault, your claims can be reduced by the amount of your own fault. In other words, if you’re found to be 50% at-fault a $10,000 case is reduced to a $5,000 recovery. Or if you’re 25% at-fault your case is reduced to $7,500. You get the gist. Because of comparative fault, statements and admissions you make can affect your ultimate recovery. So, you need to be careful about what you say and be clear about the facts you relate, if any.
Almost nothing you can say will help your case. The facts of the accident speak louder than words. Almost everything you say or volunteer can be spun in such a ways that can, and usually does, find a way to comeback to hurt you. Many good cases have collapsed because of unnecessary admissions to insurance companies.
Making any statement in writing or by recording should be discouraged. Even minor discrepancies in what you say or what you remember may have a devastating effect on your case. This is especially true if the case goes into litigation. It could be years between when you gave a recorded statement and when you’re cross-examined at trial.
Keep Statement Basic – Do Not Guess
Even if required to make a recorded statement, you should still not volunteer information and guess nothing. If you do not know something, like your exact speed before the car accident, say you do not know. Keep recorded statements basic and short, and without speculation or guessing. Remember, insurance adjusters are well trained. They try to seem nice and personable to build trust. It’s usually all a lie. They are there for one reason – to cut the value of your accident claim. They do not care about your injuries or what happened to you. They don’t care that the manager left you lying on the floor after you tripped and fell in the restaurant. Unfortunately, what you experienced and are suffering is unimportant to insurance adjusters. They may seem nice and friendly. Unfortunately, that is worth nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Unfortunately, many people fall for the nice guy routine. They believe the insurance company will treat them fair. Gaining the upper hand is what insurance companies refer to as “taking control.” They train adjusters to take control of the claim from the bringing. They also rate their performance, at least in part, on their ability to take control of the claim and keep the value down.
Insurance Company Tactics
Insurance adjusters use a variety of tactics. Some are nice and some are not so nice. Some try to lead injured people away from accident attorneys and away from treatment. They’d much rather have a person unrepresented and treating with their own doctors. How likely to you think it is that a doctor chosen by the insurance company will find you’re actually hurt? It’s much more likely they’ll document that you are malingering or exaggerating your injuries. This way the insurance doctors continue to suck off the teat of big insurance companies. This is what you’ll be dealing with if you don’t have an attorney.
You must always remember who and what you’re dealing with at all time. Insurance adjuster sometimes received bonuses for paying less than what your claim is worth. They’re able to do that because they use your recorded statement against you. Let me show you an example.
Q: After the collision were you hurt?
Now, this person answered “No” because she did not feel pain immediately after the crash. Yet, a few days later she couldn’t get out of bed. In her mind she was being completely truthful with the insurance adjuster. But, the insurance adjuster now has an admission they can use against you. Insurance adjusters like the media are masters of “spin.”
For More Information
For more information about recorded statements to insurance companies you should contact an attorney. Just having an attorney will usually increase the value of your claim. Also, most accident attorneys will review your insurance policy for free!