You’ve been called by the insurance adjuster who insists you give a recorded statement. He or she wants it now, insinuating that if you don’t do it quickly, then your claim could be denied. His statements are meant to create uncertainty in you. He or she may even insinuate not giving a statement right then, is evidence of trying to hide something or fault on your part.
First thing to understand is there is a difference between how you should respond to your own insurance company and the other guy's insurance company. With your own, at some point you will have to provide a statement. But with the at-fault driver's you are not required to do anything and certainly not immediately.
THERE IS NO REASON TO PROVIDE AN IMMEDIATE RECORDED STATEMENT
Don’t do it; don’t fall for this trick, because postponing the recorded statement will not disqualify you from benefits. Notice I wrote “postpone” because you can’t flat out refuse to give a statement to your own insurance company. At least not if you want to get benefits from your own insurance company. From a practical standpoint, sooner or later you probably should give some sort of a statement to the at-fault party’s insurer. It does not have to be recorded, and it can be written.
THE STATEMENT COULD EVEN BE WRITTEN
Whatever you are doing when you get the call, listen, be polite and then ask for the adjuster’s work hours and contact phone number, saying you’ll call back at a better time.
And if the adjuster asks why now is not convenient, just say because I’m busy. The two of you aren’t friends or family, you have a business relationship, based upon an accident and an insurance claim. It is no more complicated than this.
AFTER YOU PUT THEM OFF, THEN WHAT DO YOU DO?
Well, how about if you take a step back to decide whether you want the help of a lawyer who will help to prepare you for what is likely to be a year or more of the claim's process. Talk it over with your spouse, your friends and your relatives. This is an important decision that should not be taken lightly.
WHAT WOULD A LAWYER DO FOR US?
A lawyer should help you to obtain fair compensation. If you are one of the stubborn people who thinks they don't need the help of counsel, then consider figuring out the rules governing liability and damages in your case. You have to understand liability and while at this time you may not understand all the damages you still have to know how not to create problems for future negotiations. Even I can't know about all the client's damages the week of the accident. Not even the month after the accident. But what I do know, is saying too much and offering the wrong information will lead to problems at a later date.
WHAT DIFFERENCES DO ACCIDENTS HAVE ON THE TYPES OF DAMAGES?
That's hard to say, because as you read this blog, I don’t know what sort of case you have (automobile accident, being injured on someone’s property, motorcycle accident, bus accident, semi-truck accident, ATV, pedestrian, drunk-driver or workers’ compensation to list a few). I'm guessing most of you with serious personal injury took an ambulance to a local emergency room, had some x-rays taken and then did follow-up care. You might need physical therapy or surgery. Most of that doesn't matter for a recorded statement because the focus is on coverage under an insurance policy. And in many cases, "coverage" comes down to fault. Fault subtracts from the value of the case. It never adds.
WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT ISSUES?
Fault. Breaking the law. Failing to follow the rules-of-the-road. You being at fault is the main issue. If you are not prepared for a discussion about fault, then you are not prepared to give a recorded statement. What I do to prepare my clients, is to talk about what issues the adjuster will think are important. As you can tell this is a critical event in any claim. Fail to say the right things and you lose. Say the wrong things and again, you lose.
And talking too much leads to the past and talking too much about the past leads to saying things the wrong way, which then ... again .... subtracts from the value.
TAKE A BREATH, MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT LEGAL REPRESENTATION AND THEN MAKE A DECISION
Nevertheless, you need to understand what’s involved with how to prove fault in a court of law. No, we don’t want to go to court, but the way not to go to court is to know what needs to be proven in order to avoid it.
FIVE BIG RECORDED STATEMENT MISTAKES
- Talking too much.
- Offering information.
- Not understanding the issues involved with proving liability.
- Not understanding the issues of your damage case.
- Not refreshing your memory about the facts and then guessing while trying to bluff your way through it.
Some of the biggest mistakes I see are staring me right in the face when I read a client’s recorded statement. Off-the-cuff comments made to lighten the situation or an attempt to make the adjuster like you usually do not help explain the situation. Being a comedian will never help. Keep in mind the adjuster is not there to help you, he/she is there to figure out a way to pay you nothing at all, or ... very little. And so anytime the adjuster is being friendly, do not make the mistake of believing they are your friend.
Geico is one of the worst companies to deal with. So, if one of them is the adjuster, you would be wise to hire a lawyer.
If Katrina or I can assist you with a serious personal injury claim, call the office and ask to speak with either of us.
I have set two important videos for you to watch. Watch them both from start to end.
More About Recorded Statements
- Do you have to give the insurance company's adjuster a recorded
- Should I give a recorded statement? | Lombardi Law Firm
- How to prepare for your recorded statement. | Lombardi Law Firm
- Insurance Practices: The injured person's recorded statement
- What's the harm in giving the other guy's insurance company a ...