You do NOT Have to Give a Recorded Statement!
Lately, we’ve been getting quite a few questions asking whether or not it’s required to give a recorded statement—it’s one of the first things the “other guy’s” insurance company will ask of you.
Recorded Statement???…It’s a Trap!
The answer is almost always a firm, “No.”
Even if you’re pretty sure your statement would help your case rather than hurt it, a recorded statement can be a powerful tool insurance companies use when trying to minimize your claim.
Think about it: if you’ve been injured in an accident, you have a lot on your mind. Number one is probably the fact that you’re in an exorbitant amount of pain. You’re also wondering when you’ll be able to get your car fixed, when to reschedule that meeting at work, and hoping your kid won’t be let down if you can’t get a ride to the big soccer game.
Did we mention you’d be on high doses of pain killers? Those are certainly easing the pain, but they really just make you drowsy.
After all of this stress, you get a phone call from the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster. They want a recorded statement. Do you really think it’s the best moment?
We don’t think so either.
Our scenario may seem a bit far-fetched, but even the words of our most sharp-witted clients can get twisted. While you’re trying to give an honest account of what happened, the insurance adjuster is specifically waiting for you to get something wrong, or leave something out.
One example of how a Recorded Statement can be used against you
The adjuster will start to ask about your injuries. You look at the casts and bruises on your body and start to provide a list; your leg is broken, two of your fingers are sprained, and there’s a gash above your eyebrow. Yes, these are all on the left side of your body because that’s where the other car hit yours.
The interviewer moves on; you list your passenger’s injuries (if any), the badge number of the police officer, where your vehicle went to get repaired. These all seem like simple facts; what could go wrong as long as you were thorough and honest, right? Wrong.
After the phone call, you’re left alone in your quiet room. The high pitched ringing in your ear got a lot louder. It’s kind of annoying initially, but you let it lull you to sleep.
Months later, your leg and fingers have healed up, but that ringing is still there. The doctor says it’s Tinnitus, resulting from the crash. You’re going to need a hearing aid.
“You say you noticed the ringing right after the accident?” The insurance adjuster asks, “Unfortunately we’ll have to deny that claim” she explains, “Your recorded statement doesn’t say anything about your ear. That’s a degenerative condition.”
Now you have to foot the bill for the hearing aid. Keep that anecdote in mind for the initial phone call.
Could a Statement ever Be Required?
That being said, there are circumstances where a recorded statement may benefit your case. For example, your attorney would suggest that you give a recorded statement, and in exchange, the other driver will provide one as well. That might help you later. However, that would be a tactic you would ONLY want to use if you were being represented by an attorney, and they thought it was a good idea.
The bottom line: if you’re handling the claim on your own, and the at-fault driver’s insurance company asks for a recorded statement, the answer is a polite but firm, “no, thank you.”
What if I Gave a Statement Before Calling a Lawyer?
Lately, the insurance companies have been calling injured victims within just a few hours of the crash. They ask for the recorded statement as if it were just standard protocol.
If you hadn’t talked to a lawyer yet, and you agreed to the statement, don’t worry too much. All is not lost. However, at this point, you might want to really think about your legal options. If they are getting a recorded statement from you, they are already preparing their defense. You need to make sure you’re prepared to.
Schultz & Myers is here to help. Our law firm practices throughout all of Missouri, Illinois, and Arkansas, and we help injury victims recover medical bills, lost wages, and other damages lost from a car accident. If you’ve been hurt, call our office at 314.444.4444. Consultations are always 100% free of charge.