After being in an accident that results in a personal injury, you might find yourself dealing with the responsible party’s insurance company. It usually starts with a phone call from an adjuster soon after the accident to ask how you were doing. They will be very friendly, courteous, and empathetic, and they will do everything they can to gain your trust. This is the adjuster’s job, and most of them are very good at it.
One thing an insurance company representative might ask of you is to provide a recorded statement about the accident. They will tell you that this is your opportunity to give your version of events, and they might imply that you need to provide this statement in order for them to process the claim.
So, are you required to give the other party’s insurance company a recorded statement after getting injured in an accident?
The short answer to this question is “no”.
You are under no obligation to talk to the insurance company for the other party. Now, this is not the same as dealing with your own insurer. Under the terms and conditions of your insurance policy, you are required to cooperate with them after an accident or you could be denied coverage. But when it comes to someone else’s insurer, there are no such obligations.
So, the next logical question is – should you provide a recorded statement to the insurance company for the other party? Again, the answer is “no”, or at least not until after you have spoken with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Why Does the Insurance Company Want a Recorded Statement?
In deciding whether or not to give a recorded statement to an insurance company, it is important to understand why they want you to go on the record. Actually, they have no good reason. The insurer already has access to the police report, statements of witnesses (if there are any), and any other official information about the event.
If the insurance company wants to know something from you, they can just as easily ask you the questions informally and write down your answers without recording the conversation. The only reason that the insurer wants a recorded statement is so they can use it against you later on.
Keep in mind that this is the insurance company for the defendant in a personal injury claim for which you are the plaintiff. So, no matter how friendly and courteous they are, their interests run contrary to yours. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible for the injuries and other losses you have sustained, and one of the tactics they use to accomplish this is to look for inconsistencies in your statements.
Even if you thought you could trust the insurance company not to take your statement out of context or otherwise use it unfairly against you, it would still be a bad idea to go on the record so early after the accident. At this point, you are probably at least a bit disoriented by everything that has happened, and you would likely not be in the best state of mind to give them this kind of statement. This is especially true if you are taking painkillers or some other type of medication to deal with your injuries.
Speaking of which, another reason that it is a bad idea to give a recorded statement early on is because you probably do not know the full extent of your injuries. For example, when they talk to you, you might just have a little bit of nagging neck and lower back pain. But later on, the pain might get worse and tests might show that your injuries are more serious than you first thought.
What Should I Do if I am Asked to Give a Recorded Statement?
If the insurance company for the other party asks you to go on the record, politely decline and let them know that you want to speak to an attorney first. No matter how much they try to imply differently, you are not obligated to give them the statement, and you have the right to have an attorney handle the statement on your behalf.
Contact an Experienced West Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered an injury that was someone else’s fault, you need strong legal counsel by your side to push back against the common tactics that insurance companies will use to undermine your claim. If your injury occurred in West Virginia, Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is here to help. For a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys, message us online or call us today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979.