Do I Have to Give a Recorded Statement????

  • By:Tom Burnett

 

Do I have to Give a Recorded Statement????

 

NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!!!  I get asked this question very often.  My answer is the same every time (with one exception- see the paragraph below with a * next to it). If you have been involved in a car crash, or have been injured at a business, you have probably been asked to give a recorded statement.  Usually the recorded statement happens almost without you knowing about it.  In other words, you’ll answer the call and the adjuster on the other end tells you, in a very kind and pleasant voice, “Good afternoon, why don’t you tell me what happened?”  (and then in a very fast and soft tone) “By the way, this call is going to be recorded, ok?”  Almost everybody says “sure”.  But it’s never that easy.  The recorded statement isn’t limited to you telling your story.  It’s followed up by carefully crafted questions, the point of which, is never for your benefit.

But here’s the truth that the insurance companies don’t want you to know: You are not required to give a recorded statement.  “But”, you ask, “I have nothing to hide.  I’m telling the truth, so what can it hurt?”  The answer: a lot.  The insurance adjuster is asking you questions for one purpose- how can they avoid responsibility for what their insured did to you or your loved one and how can they pay you the least amount possible.  Here are a few ways the insurance company can use your recorded statement to deny or reduce your claim:

  • The insurance company will compare your statement to any other statements you made (emergency personnel, police officers, doctors, etc.). But oftentimes, these “statements” given to police officers or emergency responders are out of context or another person’s interpretation of what you said- sometimes completely wrong.  The adjuster will look for any inconsistency to deny or reduce your claim.
  • The insurance adjuster may ask questions that are designed to trick you, or may attempt to bully you into admitting something that isn’t true.
  • If your claim requires a lawsuit, the insurance company’s attorney can use your statement against you at trial or during your deposition. If there are any inconsistencies, no matter how trivial, the defendant’s attorney may try to convince a jury that you are a dishonest person.

Do I sound cynical?  Probably.  But I’d rather be safe than sorry.  Don’t worry- your refusal to give a recorded statement will have no impact on whether your claim is paid or how much is paid.  They just won’t have the benefit of raking you over the coals while looking for every possible way to deny the claim or reduce its value.  Don’t get me wrong- I believe there are some great insurance adjusters out there who really want to do the right thing.  They wouldn’t twist your words, ask misleading questions, or otherwise try to avoid responsibility.  I have met many of them and I’m always pleased when I do.  But they are the exception.  Protect yourself.  Protect your loved ones.  Do not give that recorded statement.

 

*There is one important caveat:  The only time a recorded statement may be required, is if you’re talking to your own insurance company.  Many insurance policies contain a “cooperation clause”.  This “cooperation clause” requires you to submit to a recorded statement after a car crash, but ONLY, if you are making a claim through your own insurance, or if your insurance needs the statement to assist in their own liability determination.  And even then, there are instances where you are not required to give the recorded statement.  And it would not be in your best interest to do so.  Why risk it?  Give us a call.  We’ll discuss the issues with you and, if the fit is right, we’ll represent you in your fight.

 

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