Are You Required to Provide a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company?
Following an auto accident, an insurance company is likely to adopt all kinds of tactics to reduce or deny your claim for damages. To achieve this goal, they may ask you to provide a recorded statement that they could later use against you during the negotiations or in court.
The law doesn’t require you to provide a recorded statement if the insurance company represents the other driver. But if it’s your own insurer, you may be obligated to comply with the request.
In any case, you should always speak with an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney before providing any recorded statement to an insurer. You should also have an attorney to represent you for any discussions or negotiations with the insurance adjuster.
The Insurer’s Objective of Obtaining a Recorded Statement After an Auto Accident in Georgia
Insurance companies need policyholders to cooperate during the claims process. But you are under no legal obligation to provide a recorded statement. The primary reason insurance companies want a recorded statement is that it is faster and easier as compared to waiting for a written statement.
Accident victims find it easier to describe the crash in a few minutes. In comparison, it can take days for them to provide the same information in writing.
Insurance companies are also aware that recorded statements have a higher margin of error. They routinely use this to their advantage to undermine the claim and minimize the amount of compensation they have to pay.
Giving a Recorded Statement in a Personal Injury Case is Never a Good Idea
Experienced attorneys will always advise their clients to refrain from providing a recorded statement. At least, you should consult with a lawyer first and preferably have them present if you really need to provide the recorded statement. You can compare this to speaking with the police about an alleged crime without having your attorney present.
Regardless of your innocence in the event, anything you say on record can be used against you. Your words will never be used for increasing the compensation or for helping you. You should know that there is no good reason for you to provide the insurance company with such a statement.
If you retain an attorney, your attorney will usually take over any communication you have with the other party’s insurance provider and prevent you from saying something that may damage the claim. If you need to provide a statement to the insurer, you should do this under the guidance and advice of your attorney.
Things to Include and Avoid in a Recorded Statement
It’s best if you provide information about the accident in writing. If the insurance company absolutely insists on providing a recorded statement and you cannot get out of the situation, you should know the type of things you should include and exclude from the statement.
These are a few things you should include in the recorded statement:
- Make your wishes known: You should clearly state at the beginning of the recorded statement that you do not wish to be recorded. Don’t forget to make it clear that you are willing to speak about the incident, but only in writing.
- Stick to the facts: Don’t insert your opinions or judgments into the recorded statement. You should describe the event in a basic and factual manner.
- Remain calm: You may say something that damages your claim if you get emotional.
- Ask for the adjuster’s contact information: You should get the handling insurance adjuster’s name and phone number on the record. This will help you later on if there is any issue with the claim.
These are a few things you should not say:
- Admission of fault: You need to stay clear of “I’m sorry” and any other phrases that can be misconstrued as an admission of fault. You may be sorry that the other party was injured or that an accident occurred, but if you say you are sorry, you could seriously harm the claim. You need to limit the defendant’s ability to argue and place the blame on you.
- Injuries: You need to refrain from saying anything about your injuries until the doctor understands the full extent of them. You may have difficulty recovering compensation if any new symptoms develop after you have given your statement.
- Answers you are not sure of: Don’t respond to any question whose answer you don’t know for sure. You can always say “I don’t know” to the adjuster recording the statement. Speculation can greatly harm your claim.
- Settlement offer: Don’t agree to any settlement offer made by the insurance adjuster. The only reason an insurance company offers quick settlement is if they are worried about the increasing financial consequences. Remember that you sign away your right to pursue further settlement once you agree to an offer.
Our Resourceful Car Accident Lawyers are Ready to Fight for You
If you or someone you love was injured in an auto accident, protect your rights by choosing a strong advocate from the law firm of DuBose Miller. Our seasoned attorneys aggressively pursue justice for victims by standing up to insurance companies on their behalf.
To schedule your free and confidential consultation with us, call us at (404) 720-8111 or write to us online.