As an accident victim, you may wonder if it is right to provide a recorded statement to your own insurance company when filing a claim. The insurance adjuster asking for a recorded statement is not working on your behalf. Instead, the adjuster is representing the best interest of his or her employer: the insurance company.
The recorded statement allows the adjuster and the insurance company to investigate what transpired. Sometimes, the adjuster or an insurance company representative may pressure you into giving a recorded statement by informing you that it won’t process the claim unless you provide your record of events.
Providing a Recorded Statement for an Insurance Claim
Even though it does not happen frequently, your insurance provider may ask you for a vocally recorded statement. If you get this request from the company, you may want to know whether agreeing to it will favor your case. As you decide, the following questions may run through your mind:
- Will the insurance adjuster treat me fairly?
- Does the insurance provider have my best interests?
- Will the adjuster warn me if I start sharing too much?
- Will the honest account of the events leading to the accident induce the company to help me?
- Is the company as friendly as it markets itself?
The accurate response to these questions is no. Giving a statement is a formality that car accident victims need to follow. A recorded statement can make or break your case.
Are You Obligated to Give a Recorded Statement?
Expect the insurance company to make it look like you need to give the statement. However, it depends on the accident claim you are trying to make. If the fine print of your insurance policy obliges you to do so, then you will have to give the statement. Insurance policies involving first-party claims have this rule in the fine print.
A first-party claim involves the accident victim and the victim’s insurance provider. It might apply to your case if the accident only caused damage to your car, involved a hit-and-run accident, or involved an uninsured driver. In this case, the insurance provider will refer to a specific clause in your policy known as the “Cooperation Clause.”
The Cooperation Clause states that the policyholder must cooperate in the investigation of a claim he or she brings to the insurance company. Cooperating, here, means that you need to submit all communications and documents related to the claim. If you fail to comply with these rules, it may lead to a claim denial.
What About Third-Party Claims?
A third-party claim will not require you to give a statement. You can make this type of claim to the insurance provider of the other person involved in the accident.
Reasons for Giving a Recorded Statement
If your insurance policy mandates you to give the recorded statement, you should do it for various reasons. Giving an honest account of the accident can help the insurance company start processing your claim. Through an insurance adjuster, the company will want to know whether it should compensate you for the damages. However, speak with your attorney before providing the insurance company with a recorded statement.
Car accidents can leave victims injured or traumatized. Be sure to record your account while your memory is still fresh, and assemble as much evidence and information at the accident scene as possible. Also, ask your car accident lawyer to guide you on using technology to protect your rights to compensation.
Your insurance provider will reimburse you for the costs incurred in the accident, provided they are within your coverage limits.
What to Expect in a Statement Recording Session
You should know what to expect if there’s a clause in the fine print of your insurance policy that mandates you to give a recorded statement to your own insurance company. The first thing to note is that you have the right to postpone a recording session.
Postponing the session may help you seek treatment and recover from any injuries caused by the accident. The outcomes of the claims process will depend on the statement you record. So, you should come to the session fully prepared. A skilled car accident lawyer can advise you on what to expect during the recording session and how to respond to questions from the insurance adjuster.
Insurance adjusters tend to ask accident victims questions that are not in their best interests. Expect the adjuster to lure you into saying something that will make you lose the claim. To avoid this trap, remain polite and calm and take time to think before speaking.
As you tell the adjuster what he or she wants to hear, record your name and contact details. You should also share the specific date and time the accident took place. You do not have to give a chronological order of the events. Only share what you remember.
Why You Should Avoid Giving a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
You can choose to say nothing, as no legal requirement for giving a recorded statement exists. You may do this if you won’t gain anything from recording the statement. You can also refuse to record the statement until you have your lawyer. In this case, you will avoid sharing information that could damage your claim.
Insurance adjusters speak to accident victims for a living. They will use any communication tactic to shift the blame onto the victim. You may choose not to speak with the adjuster, knowing that the adjuster will want to protect the insurance company’s interests.
What to Do When Two or More Insurance Companies Want Recorded Statements
If the other party is responsible for the accident, expect an adjuster from the insurance company to ask you for a statement. The adjuster will want a recorded statement to hear your side of the story.
If you agree to provide a recorded statement to your own insurance company, you should not do the same with the other party’s insurer. Seek advice from your lawyer on when it is right to share the details.
The other party’s insurance company would not want to compensate you for your loss. It will send an adjuster to try to make you incriminate yourself. You may lose the claim to the at-fault party without legal representation on your side.
What Do Insurance Companies Do With Recorded Statements?
The insurance provider can use the recorded statement to hurt your case. It may conclude that your story is inconsistent or downplay the nature of your injuries.
Everything you record should reflect what you told the police officers at the accident scene. If the stories differ, expect the insurance company to use the inconsistencies against you. The adjuster will suggest that the shared information does not qualify you for a settlement.
Your claim might get denied if the insurance adjuster downplays your losses or injuries. In this case, the company will want you to give details of all the injuries you suffered and the treatment you received. The insurance provider may consider your injuries less serious if crucial information is missing from your claim.
How the Accident Insurance Claim Investigation Takes Place
The type of the claim filed by the accident victim will determine the course of the insurance investigation. The investigation may take a different course if the adjuster finds any red flags in your case.
Accidents that do not result in injuries take a shorter time to investigate. The adjuster will, however, expect you to answer a few questions via phone. You must also submit a repair estimate from an accredited car repair shop.
Accidents resulting in significant injuries or involving uninsured drivers require lengthy and more detailed investigations. The insurance company will want a thorough review of the events since more money is at stake. When you meet with the adjuster, you will have to share your side of the story if doing so will benefit your case.
The adjuster will want to know about your injuries. The adjuster will also talk to other involved parties or witnesses if there are any. Getting all sides of the story will help the insurance provider decide whether your claim is valid.
Be aware that the insurance company may do a background check on you as part of the investigation. It may hire an investigator to visit the accident scene, obtain your cell phone records, and review your social media activities.
Your social media posts can help the company determine whether your story is true. For instance, if you post a clip of yourself playing a physically-draining sport on the same day of the accident, the insurer may invalidate your claim.
If the insurer suspects your claim is fraudulent, it will conduct a more thorough investigation. The company will find out more about the motivation to commit fraud. It will also look into evidence that can render your claim invalid.