When someone gets injured in an auto accident or sustains some other type of personal injury, they will usually be dealing with an insurance company when they file a claim for damages. And in most cases, it will be the insurance company for the responsible party. There are some instances, however, when you may be dealing with your own insurer – such as if the driver that hit you did not have insurance or was underinsured.
After an accident, it is not unusual to get a phone call from an insurance company representative within a day or two. They are usually very friendly and polite, and they will present it as a courtesy call to find out how you are doing and reassure you that you are going to be taking care of.
During the call, you might start to believe that the insurance adjuster or representative is really on your side. And once they have convinced you of this, they might make a seemingly innocuous request – to provide them with a recorded statement to give your version of what happened during the accident. The adjuster or representative will make it seem like giving a recorded statement is just a formality and something that is needed in order to process your claim more quickly.
So, are you required to give the insurance company a recorded statement? And if not, should you give them a recorded statement?
The answer to the first question is, in most cases, you are not required to give a recorded statement to an insurance company after an accident. The only exception is if you are dealing with your own insurer and this requirement is part of the terms and conditions of your policy. Otherwise, there is no law that compels you to give it to them.
The short answer to the second question is, no you should not give the insurance company a recorded statement until you have spoken with an attorney. This is not to say that you should not provide the statement at all, but the timing of it is very important, and you need to be prepared before you give it.
When is the Right Time to Give the Insurance Company a Recorded Statement?
There is a good reason why insurance company representatives typically contact injury claimants within just a couple of days after an accident. They want to speak with you and gain your trust before you have had a chance to collect your thoughts, contact an attorney, and find out what your legal rights and options are.
It is during these early hours that they seek to build rapport and convince you that it is in your best interests to cooperate with them and give them a recorded statement right away. Keep in mind, however, that no matter how friendly and courteous they are, the insurance company representative is looking out for their employer’s bottom line, and that is only helped by paying out as little as possible in compensation for your claim.
Since the insurance company’s interests are not aligned with yours, you should be skeptical of what they tell you. And when it comes to giving a recorded statement, you not go on the record too early.
One of the major reasons you should not give them the statement right away is that you probably do not know the full extent of your injuries yet. For example, you might just have a few minor aches and pains right now, but these pains could worsen in the coming days and weeks. If you said or implied that you only had minor injuries in your statement, then you might appear to contradict yourself if you discover more serious injuries later on.
Another reason it is not a good idea to provide a statement immediately is because of what we talked about earlier, you may not have had a chance to collect your thoughts yet. Before you go on the record, you should take time to review the police report and any notes you took to make sure that you are absolutely clear on what happened.
It is always best to look to your attorney to determine the time and manner in which you should give your recorded statement. Usually, this will involve having your attorney present for questioning. Insurance company representatives sometimes ask tricky and misleading questions that are designed to trap you into giving answers that might harm your claim, and your attorney will not let them get away with asking these types of questions.
Skilled Legal Guidance from Experienced Alabama Personal Injury Attorneys
If you have been injured in an accident and you have been contacted by an insurance company, remember that you are well within your rights to speak with an attorney before dealing with the insurer. If your injury occurred in Alabama, contact Hedge Copeland for a free consultation and case assessment. To get started, message us online or call our office today at (251) 432-8844.