If have been in an auto accident, an insurance adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company is likely to contact you within a few days after the accident. Generally, they give you a call instead of meeting you to learn about what happened and to get a recorded statement. They are likely to tell you that this statement will be used to gather sufficient information to settle your claim in the least amount of time. But in reality, they have an ulterior motive of tricking you into saying something that might be used against you and potentially reduce the amount of your recovery.
What is the Purpose of Getting a Recorded Statement?
The claims adjuster takes your statement to hear your side of how the accident happened that resulted in your injury, as well as the aftermath. They usually say that they need to get information to build a clear picture of your claim by getting statements from you and any witnesses, and by using incident and police reports. Some claims adjusters may genuinely be working for your best interests, but most of the times, it is the opposite case. Remember, insurance is a big business, and insurance companies are there for its shareholders and help the business earn profits. Often, adjusters earn stock in the company as part of their employment, and in this situation, the adjuster has an even greater interest in helping the company to earn healthy profits.
What the Insurance Company Expects to Gain from a Recorded Statement
Insurance companies try to protect their own interests and minimize the amount they pay for your damages. Moreover, they know that most people do not hire an attorney immediately after the accident, thinking that the insurance company will have them covered. By giving a recorded statement, you are giving the insurance company an opportunity to severely limit the amount of compensation you may deserve to get from your claim.
There are several ways a recorded statement can be negatively used, such as:
- Insurance adjusters may try to trip-up the claimant by asking tricky questions, manipulating them to say things that may affect their claim. They may change meaning of certain parts of your statement into something you didn’t mean. For example, you may say that you injured your arm badly, but the insurance adjuster may ask you whether you are feeling better now. It may seem like that they are asking this out of courtesy, but if you say that you are feeling better, it can be used against you later on.
- The insurance adjuster may call you right after an accident. It is likely that you are still recovering from the injuries and trauma of the accident, and may not be able provide accurate information about the true extent of your damages. Some injuries surface after a few weeks, and legally, you are entitled to receive compensation for them as well. But when you give a recorded statement, the insurance company may argue that your recorded statement did not account for any such injuries, and hence may hurt your claim.
The bottom line is: you should avoid giving a recorded statement to a claims adjuster without consulting with an attorney like a car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL relies on. You have the right to turn down the adjusters’ request, but be sure to do so in a firm yet courteous manner. No matter how friendly and empathetic they may seem, keep in mind that they are working to benefit their company, not you.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Eric H. Luckman, P.A. for their insight into car accident and personal injury practice.