You have just been in a car accident that is not your fault. Injured and unsure of what comes next, the at-fault driver’s insurance company calls you asking about what happened. During your conversation with the insurance adjuster, you realize that their questions make it seem like you are on trial and the one at-fault. Feeling flustered, frustrated, and tired, you continue to answer all of the insurance adjuster’s questions before being able to simply ask about your car and when you can get into a rental car. Then, the adjuster requests that the need for a “Recorded Statement” before they can proceed any further with your claim and providing you with a rental car. However, what is a recorded statement, and why must you provide one?
First and foremost, the “Recorded Statement” is not really a statement, but instead a “Recorded Question and Answer Session” in which the questions are crafted and asked by the insurance company. The same insurance company focused on protecting its own bank account and its own driver and not you. The questions will include information you are not legally obligated to disclose at that time (such as your past medical history or whether you take any prescription medications). Thus, if you offer up this information, then you quite possibly are offering information to devalue your claim (for example, if you tell the insurance adjuster that you injured your back three (3) years ago which required medical care, then they will argue that you had a pre-existing condition and try to argue that this current accident did not injure your back).
Second, since the insurance company records this session, they can use these statements against you at trial many years later. They can use this statement to “impeach” your testimony at trial. For example, if your testimony at trial differs from what you stated during your recorded statement, then they can play this recorded statement to a jury trial in an effort to discredit your testimony. Remember that most trials occur many years after a collision meaning your recollection of what you said in this statement can be fuzzy at best.
Even further, they can use this statement to search for any discrepancies of what you may have told the police officer at the scene or what you told a doctor during your treatment. Long story short, an insurance company will generally only use this statement against you.
Let us now answer the second question. Simply put, you do not need to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company, notwithstanding extremely unusual circumstances. If an adjuster insists upon requiring a recorded statement before proceeding with their analysis, then end your conversations immediately and contact an attorney experienced with car accidents. Let an experienced attorney determine if a recorded statement is necessary (very rare), and even if one may be required, then let the attorney dictate the terms of the recorded statement. Do not allow the insurance company to bully you into one.
Remember, a recorded statement represents yet another tool that the insurance company uses in an effort to devalue your claim. A recorded statement is just as it sounds; it is your statement of events that the insurance adjuster records. In this recorded statement, you will acknowledge your understanding that the statement is being recorded, and it is being recorded with your permission. We cannot understate the importance of the insurance recording this conversation.
While we maintain that you should never provide the insurance company with any statement without first seeking the advice of any attorney, if you must provide a statement, then we recommend that you insist upon that statement being unrecorded.
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