The aftermath of a car accident is a confusing time, and many people are eager to put the whole ordeal behind them. The insurance company of the person that hit you may ask you for a recorded statement. You may want to be helpful, but answering their questions in a recorded statement can be dangerous to your claim.
Personal injury attorney Courtney Allen Van Winkle explains why you should not give a recorded statement to an insurance company after an accident without the advice and guidance of an attorney.
Insurance companies reduce the amount they pay out in claims by denying those claims. Since they need a reason to deny your claim, they’re going to use your recorded statement to find one. Here’s how:
Inconsistencies: In the weeks and months following the accident, you’ve spoken to police officers, and maybe even taken part in a deposition in the lawsuit following the accident. You agree to give the other party’s insurance company a recorded statement “as part of the process.” The insurance company’s employees will take your recorded statement and compare it to all those other statements you have made. Where they find inconsistencies in your multiple statements, which is common when someone tells the story of his accident more than once, sometimes weeks or months apart, the company will claim you lied. The company may then deny your claim.
Tricky Questions: The other person’s insurance adjuster is going to ask you a lot of questions. They’ve asked these questions many times, but it will be your first time. The questions may be worded in such a way that they trap or trick you into responses that hurt your case. They may even try to push you into agreeing to facts you aren’t quite sure are completely accurate.
Cross-Examination: At trial or during a deposition, defense counsel will have the opportunity to cross-examine you. The defense lawyer will do his or her best to make you contradict yourself. You may not remember exactly what you said in your recorded statement, and you might think this contradiction is insignificant. But, the defendant’s lawyer will use that contradiction to attempt to convince the jury that those contradictions make your testimony unreliable.
For these reasons, it is in your best interest to deny the insurance company’s request for a recorded statement. Be polite, but firm. Remember: they only represent the insurance company’s interests, not yours.
About The Speaker: Courtney Allen Van Winkle is a partner and trial attorney at the Allen Law Firm. Her practice is focused entirely on personal injury cases, including car accidents, bicycle accidents, and drunk driving accidents. As a mother of 4 children herself, Courtney works closely with her clients to understand how their injuries have affected their day-to-day life and dedicates herself to helping them get fair compensation.