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David Lowe
David Lowe
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Just Say No: Why Giving a Recorded Statement to Insurers May Be a Bad Idea

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"You’re in good hands", because they’re "like a good neighbor", always "on your side". Even if you channel surf through commercial breaks, chances are you’ve seen at least one ad for an insurance company touting their folksy, people-first policies. While insurance companies are not villains, it is important to remember that they are businesses, and they act first and foremost in their own interest, not yours. So when you have been in an accident and receive a call from an insurance adjuster or claim representative requesting a statement, understand that the caller’s purpose is to get you to make concessions that may result in the denial of your claim, or to minimize the amount they will have to pay to settle your claim. Therefore, you should be very careful about what statements you make, especially if they are going to be recorded.

You might wonder what’s so distinct about a “recorded statement” as opposed to a regular statement. After all, if you’re going to say the same thing in either case, can’t it still be used the same way? You may be surprised that it cannot. While you should give a statement containing the facts of the accident, a company cannot make your words a matter of record without your specific permission. Providing helpful information to the insurance companies is different than committing yourself to a standing record.

First of all, you need to know that it is your right to refuse to make a recorded statement if you are making a claim under someone else’s policy or if the statement is not for your own insurance company. If an insurance company for another driver is pressuring you to make a recorded statement, you should contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in auto accidents. An attorney can make sure that the necessary information reaches the insurance company, but that you do not make incorrect or imcomplete statements that can be used against you later.

Even though you should never agree to provide a recorded statement to the other insurer, it is not uncommon for your own insurer to request a recorded statementif your insurance policy provides uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits. You have a duty to cooperate with your own company by providing requested information but can provde the information without giving a recorded statement.

Once you give a recorded statement, it is impossible to change anything you have said. The record is created on the spot, with no time to prepare and often before you have seen your doctor and obtained an accurate diagnosis of your condition. If you give incomplete answers because you have forgotten some details, you will meet with skepticism or disbelief if you try to add to them later. If you describe an injury to one are of your body, your statement will be used against you when you devlop symptoms in another ara of the body, because you failed to mention it in your first statement. It is common experience that some injuries are not symptomatic until weeks or even months after an accident, or they were masked or less important because of a more prominent injury immediately following the accident. You may unknowingly make incorrect statements that prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve. Your spontaneous statements may not be as clear as you think they are, so if your own insurer says you are obligated to make a statement, you should submit one in writing so that you can be concise and accurate. If you are careful to only share objective facts about the accident and avoid speculation about fault, your own insurance provider can use the statement to help determine the settlement.

After an accident, avoid giving a recorded statement to a claims representative despite their you need to protect your interests, because even "good hands" and "good neighbors" have their own agendas. The process of seeking fair compensation for injuries sustained in an accident is full of pitfalls and complications. Rather than giving a recorded statement in response to interrogation from the claims representative, your interests are always better served by obtaining skilled representation from an attorney who handles personal injury cases. Giving a recorded statement without the assistance of an attorney may cause you to lose the compensation to which you are entitled.

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  1. Joe Crumley says:
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    This is great advice.