So, you were injured due to another person's negligence and when an adjuster from the at-fault party's insurance company called a few days later, you provided a recorded statement as requested. Now, every legal blog you come across says doing that was a horrible mistake which could potentially affect your ability to recover compensation for your injuries. This can be an extremely unnerving position for an accident victim. However, it isn't the end of the world.
While the prevailing wisdom is accident victims should avoid providing a recorded statement to the liable party's insurance company without the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney, doing so doesn't necessarily ruin a victim's chances for a fair financial award.
If you gave a recorded statement to the at-fault party's insurance company after being injured in an accident, here's what you should know.
Why Attorneys Caution Against Providing a Recorded Statement
Insurance adjusters can seem friendly and eager to help over the phone, but it's important to remember that no matter how nice the adjuster seems, an insurance company isn't on your side. Insurance companies are businesses with the primary concern to remain profitable. One way insurance company adjusters do this is by minimizing financial obligations to claimants using whatever means they have at their disposal. That's where the post-accident recorded statement comes in.
While a recorded statement purportedly helps the insurance company understand what happened so it start processing your claim, the interview can be packed with leading questions that can confuse accident victims into misspeaking. This might give an adjuster the necessary ammunition to poke holes in your version of events.
The Potential Consequences of Giving a Recorded Statement
After obtaining a recorded statement from an accident victim, insurance adjusters often compare that statement to other accounts they've made about the incident, such as those included in the police report or from a deposition in a related lawsuit. If an insurance adjuster discovers any inconsistencies, he may argue the accident—and injuries—didn't occur as claimed. This could lead to the insurance company making a low settlement offer, or denying the claim altogether.
Ways to Mitigate Problems Caused by Providing a Recorded Statement
While giving a recorded statement to an insurance company without the advice of an attorney does have the potential to have serious consequences, there are things that accident victims can do to mitigate any problems their statement has caused. The best way to refute inconsistencies in a recorded statement is to build a strong case that supports your version of events. You can do this by:
- Presenting detailed medical records that document accident-related injuries and their treatment, and include a prognosis and ongoing care plan
- Providing extensive photographic evidence, such as photos of the accident scene, physical injuries, and property damage
- Introducing dash cam or security camera footage of the accident
- Obtaining statements from people who witnessed the accident
- Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney to handle your case
- Gathering statements from expert witnesses who can explain how the accident occurred as well as the effects of the injuries
An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Without the help of a knowledgeable and skilled personal injury attorney, accident victims inadvertently make mistakes that can potentially damage their case outcomes—such as providing a recorded statement to an at-fault party's insurance company. Don't let going it alone literally cost you. McGartland Law Firm's award-winning personal injury attorneys can help you fight for the compensation you need and deserve after an accident or other serious injury.
Do you have questions about a personal injury case? Contact McGartland Law Firm today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.