Should You Ever Give a Recorded Statement to Your Insurance Company After a Car Accident?
Being in a traffic accident can be very stressful and traumatic, especially if you’ve been injured or your car has been totaled. Your insurance company may call you, or the insurance company for the other driver may call you, saying they need a statement from you, and they want to record it. They seem so friendly and helpful, and you don’t have anything to hide, so what could go wrong? Plenty!
In general, you should not give a recorded statement to an insurance company after a serious car accident without the advice of a lawyer. You really shouldn’t give a verbal statement either. You need to remember that the insurance company is in business to make money for its shareholders. One way the company does that is by denying claims, or reducing payouts whenever they can. Speaking with an experienced Dallas car accident lawyer before you give a full statement to the insurance company can help protect your rights.
Insurance companies will use any statement you make against you. How do they do that?
An insurance adjuster will compare any statement you give them to the any other statements you have given, including
- What you told the investigating officer for the police report on the accident.
- What you may have told medical personnel.
- What you may have said in a deposition if you filed a lawsuit after the accident.
It’s actually pretty common for there to be inconsistencies in your statements, which are sometimes given weeks, and even months apart. Your statement immediately following the shock of an accident may be different than a statement you give after the adrenaline has stopped flowing and you can think more clearly. But any inconsistency in those statements, however slight, gives the insurance company the chance to say you lied, and deny your claim as a result.
Tricky Questions or Wording
Insurance company employees often ask questions with wording designed to trap or trick you into giving an answer that can hurt your case. They may also push you to agree to facts that you are not certain of, and will take an “I guess so” or “maybe” as an affirmative. This soft agreement can come back to haunt you. A good car accident lawyer can argue that this was entrapment
Questioning Your Memory
Insurance company employees may also use tactics to make it seem like you don’t remember the facts of the accident. Before they begin recording or taking notes, they may say things like, “It all happened so fast, it’s probably just a blur. Makes it hard to remember what happened, doesn’t it?” or something like that, and hope that you agree. And if you do, they can use that statement against you.
Your Statement Can Be Used Against You In Court
Just like a statement to police can be used against you in court, so can any statement you give to an insurance company. If you are called to testify in court, and you say something that is inconsistent with your statement, the insurance company’s lawyer will point out the inconsistency to the jury and make it look like you’re not believable.
The bottom line is you should never give a recorded statement to an insurance company employee without consulting a car accident lawyer first. Be firm but polite, and say you will give them a statement once you have talked with your lawyer. While your own auto insurance policy may require you give your insurance company a statement, you are well within your rights to tell them you want to speak with your lawyer first. And consulting a car accident lawyer is a really smart thing to do if the other driver’s insurance company wants you to give a statement.
Find out more on what to say (and what not to say) when you talk to the insurance company after an accident.
Speaking to a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Case
Unlike the insurance company, a Dallas car accident lawyer will be on your side, and work for you. A good lawyer will:
- Explain your rights, the terms of your insurance policy, and your options for getting compensation from the other driver’s insurance
- Give you clear and honest answers about your claim
- Represent you in your dealings with the insurance company or the police
- Help you reach a fair settlement with the insurance company
- Represent you in court if needed
If you did already give a statement to your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, you are entitled to receive a copy of it.
Talk to Experienced Lawyers In Dallas for Free
If you or a family member has been injured in an accident, consulting with one of our experienced Dallas car accident lawyers can help you decide how to move forward. The initial consultation is free and puts you under no obligation. At our initial meeting, we’ll talk with you about the accident, the extent of your injuries, and discuss any offers the insurance company has already made.