This question can be answered either way; when do you and when don’t you? Either way you ask it, the answer is basically the same, because it revolves around a contract or no contract.
WHEN DON’T YOU HAVE TO GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT?
Today let me explain the difference between when you are and when you are not, required to give a formal recorded statement after an accident in which you will be making an insurance claim.
Let’s say you are seriously injured in a car or truck accident. It could be a motorcycle accident in Des Moines, Iowa. It could even be a farm accident in rural Polk County. The type of accident or where in Iowa, does not really matter. What does matter is whose insurance you are trying to get to pay for your damages. Damages are things like property damage, medical bills or wages.
CAR, MOTORCYCLE, TRUCK OR TRACTOR COLLISION
You believe you are not the at-fault driver. You think, the other guy is the at-fault driver. In other words, the other driver caused the accident and caused you to be seriously injured.
You have two choices about who should pay to fix your car, or, who should pay your medical bills or to pay for wage loss. You didn't cause the accident so why should you be inconvienced or have to put out some dough.
WHAT ARE THE TWO CHOICES?
Your first choice is your own insurance company. You might want to file a claim with your own insurance company under your own policy. Or,
Second choice is the other guy’s insurance company. Thus, an adjuster calls you asking/demanding or cajoling you about giving a recorded statement. He might even imply if you don't agree you probably have something to hide. He might even imply if you don't agree to give on 'right now' that you probably have something to hide. Ignore this for today. Let us save his trying to make him the victim, for another blog and for another day. Today it is all about the two choices for filing the claim, and which requires a recorded statement.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
The difference is that with your own insurance company you have a contractual obligation to cooperate and to provide a statement of some form, could be written or could be a recorded interview.
But with the other guy’s insurance company, there is no contractual obligation and really no legal one.
THERE IS NO RULE SAYING YOU HAVE TO AGREE THE DAY THE ADJUSTER CALLS, ASKING FOR ONE
In another blog I will cover what to say to the other-guy’s insurance adjuster to give you more time to think or to consult with a lawyer before providing a recorded statement.
WHAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE ABOUT WHAT YOU SHOULD DO?
The bottom line is quite simple. At some point you have to give a recorded statement to your own insurance company. But even when you provide a statement to your own insurance company you need to be prepared. And by being prepared I mean you need to understand what to say and what not to say. By what not to say I am not inferring that you hide the truth. What I am saying is you do not have an obligation to state what you do not know. And if you do not know the answer, then simply state, “At this time I really don’t know the answer to your question.”
It is better to say what you know and not try to say what you don’t or cannot know.
As for the other guy's insurance company, you have no obligation to provide a statement. Just like they owe you nothing, neither do you owe them a recorded statement. Until they agree to pay for your damages, you do not have any obligation to provide a recorded statement, nor should you. You should never talk to the other guy's insurance company's adjuster until you have counsel. At least not in an accident with serious personal injury damages.
THE BIGGEST MISTAKE IS A LACK OF PREPARATION
My advice will never waiver on this point. Every seriously injured person should consult with a lawyer, meaning hire one, before you agree to give a recorded statement. Otherwise you are guessing at how to understand the process and what to say or not to say.
Call the Lombardi Law Firm for assistance with serious personal injury claims. We offer contingent fee agreements and advance all expenses. Call us, call now. We are located in West Des Moines, Iowa.