Although you are never legally required to give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance adjuster after a car accident, the decision of whether to actually give one is not something that should be taken lightly. While in certain specific situations giving a recorded statement to the other side can be beneficial for an injured victim and help to wrap the claim up quickly, oftentimes it will only be beneficial for one party: the insurance company.
One of the main concerns when it comes to giving a recorded statement is that it allows the other driver’s insurance company to interview you, extract information from you, and attempt to minimize your damages – all while you do not get such an opportunity with respect to the at-fault driver. In other words, the recorded statement can often end up being a “one way street” that only benefits the insurance company and which does not help (and may even harm) the injured person. Although the adjuster may seem sympathetic and friendly on the phone, make no mistake: he or she has been trained to get the information needed to absolutely minimize the value of your claim, or to deny your claim in its entirety. Remember: the adjuster is not your friend.
While there are exceptions to every rule, I generally decline to allow the other driver’s insurance adjuster to take a recorded statement of my client if I believe that liability for the accident is clear, i.e. if it is clear that the other driver is at fault. In such a situation, usually nothing good can come from giving a recorded statement. Just because the other party was cited for the accident by the police officer at the scene does not necessarily mean that the other party will ultimately be liable in the eyes of the insurance company. An experienced attorney will have reviewed hundreds (if not thousands) of traffic accident reports and will be able to see potential pitfalls and determine whether giving a recorded statement would be beneficial, neutral, or harmful in light of the facts of the case.
Another concern when it comes to giving a recorded statement is that if the case ends up in litigation, the recorded statement has now created the opportunity for inconsistency between your recorded statement and your subsequent deposition testimony. The defense attorney will latch on to even the slightest misstatement and attempt to impeach your credibility and minimize you and your claim. It is for this reason, among others, that if the decision is made to give a recorded statement, your attorney will be there with you throughout the process and will intervene in the process if necessary.
The bottom line is that what at first glance appears to be a relatively straightforward and simple process of “giving a statement” can have devastating consequences for your case.
If you have questions about any of the legal issues raised in this blog, contact Dodosh Law Offices, LLC at (440) 298-2344. Or, you can fill out a contact form and Attorney Dodosh will get in touch with you.