Car insurance companies often tell crash victims that providing a recorded statement about the accident can help speed up the legal process. Insurance companies want you to believe they are on your side and are committed to helping you get the compensation you need.
The problem with providing a recorded statement soon after a crash is that insurers can use it to limit the value of your claim. Some of the things you say in a recorded statement could even be used as a reason to deny your claim.
You may need to give a recorded statement later in the claims process, but you should consult an experienced lawyer before agreeing to a recorded statement. Claims adjusters and other insurance company representatives know how to mislead crash victims and get them to say things that hurt their case.
The Cleveland car accident lawyers at Friedman Domiano & Smith are available to help you pursue compensation after a car crash. This includes communicating with the insurance company on your behalf to protect your interests.
An initial consultation is free of charge, and there is no obligation to hire our firm. There are also no fees while we work on your case.
Why do Car Insurance Companies Ask for Recorded Statements?
Insurers want to resolve claims as quickly as possible, but not for the same reasons as crash victims.
You need compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages as car crash injuries often create a financial crisis for victims. However, insurance companies try to resolve claims quickly because that usually means they pay little to no compensation.
When they encourage you to provide a recorded statement to help speed up the process, they are doing so because it serves their interests. Even though a recorded statement may speed up the process, it may also hurt the value of your claim.
Insurance companies strive to protect their bottom line, which includes looking for reasons to deny or underpay claims, no matter how valid.
Are You Required to Give a Recorded Statement?
It depends on the terms of your insurance policy. If the policy requires claimants to give a recorded statement, you may need to do so before your claim can be resolved.
However, this is an issue that should be discussed with a licensed attorney first. Even if you are required to provide a recorded statement, it is a good idea to have an attorney present.
The attorneys at our firm have helped many crash victims secure compensation and have dealt with insurance companies countless times. We are committed to protecting your best interests.
Agreeing to provide a recorded statement and doing so without an attorney present could be bad for your claim. Insurance companies know how to get crash victims to accidentally or unintentionally say things that can hurt their claims.
What are the Problems with Recorded Statements?
Once the insurance company has a recorded statement, it could be used in a variety of ways to damage your claim.
For example, the things you say in a recorded statement could contradict things you say later in the legal process. Your statements could also contradict the findings of the insurance company’s investigation. This can damage your credibility and give the insurance company a reason to deny or devalue your claim.
Downplaying Your Injuries
The insurance company will probably try to get you to say things about your injuries that are untrue. For example, they may confuse you with their questions to trick you into downplaying the severity of your injuries. The insurance adjuster could say something like, “I think you will eventually be OK,” and victims may make an offhand remark like, “Yes, I will be fine.”
Some statements could be used as a reason to assign partial fault for the crash to you. For example, saying you could have acted differently, or you were in a rush could be seen as an admission of fault for the crash.
You are more likely to make damaging statements when giving a recorded statement soon after a crash. Insurance companies know victims are especially vulnerable then and often unsure of how to defend their interests. Unfortunately, victims may also believe the insurance company is on their side.
Crash victims are often unprepared for the types of questions insurance companies may ask. For example, they may ask multiple versions of the same question, or even contradictory questions to get you to say something they can use against you.
Protecting Your Claim When the Insurance Company Calls
It is generally best to avoid talking to the insurance company and allow your attorney to talk to them on your behalf instead. If and when the insurance company calls, you can simply tell them to contact your attorney to discuss the crash.
If you do talk to the insurance company, it is important to only state facts and avoid sharing too much information. Here are some general guidelines on protecting your claim when talking to the insurance company:
- Stick to the facts about the crash and avoid opinions or statements you are unsure of
- If you do not know the answer to a question, decline to answer or simply say you do not know
- Avoid talking about your injuries, as you could accidentally downplay their severity
- Answer questions consistently – if they ask multiple versions of the same question, be sure to answer each question the same way
- Only answer the questions you are asked and do not ramble or volunteer extra information
- Do not admit fault for the crash
- Do not sign anything without reviewing it with a lawyer
- Keep the conversation brief to reduce the risk to your claim
Have Legal Questions After a Crash? Call Today
For more than 30 years, the law firm of Friedman, Domiano, & Smith has been helping victims of injury accidents in Northeast Ohio. We have obtained millions on behalf of our clients, including victims of motor vehicle accidents.
We do not charge upfront fees, and we do not get paid unless our clients get paid. The initial consultation is also 100 percent free.
Give us a call today to learn more. 216-621-0070
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