Have you ever heard the saying “Everything you say in a recorded statement can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident you might want to give this statement some thought before you consider speaking to an insurance adjuster. If you have been hurt in a traffic accident it’s likely you will be contacted by an insurance adjuster who wants to take your recorded statement about what happened in the accident. They will start out by telling you they want to help resolve your claim. The problem is they want to resolve the claim for their own benefit, not yours.
First of all, you must remember that these adjusters are not your friend. It’s their job to minimize the amount of money that will potentially be paid out to you on from their insurance company.
It may seem pretty straightforward to answer their questions and you want to be truthful, but unfortunately these adjusters will use the truth to support their own version of what happened. They want this statement as soon as they can after the accident when you are hurting and disoriented. So why do they need a recorded statement? The answer to this is simple, they want to use it to lower the amount they may have to pay you.
Now do you have to give them a recorded statement? Certainly not. The insurance company is not going to deny you compensation based on your refusal to provide a recorded statement.
Here are some examples of how they use this recorded statement against you.
They will call you immediately after the accident and ask you about your injuries. At this point, you may not realize how hurt you are or you may overlook injuries that at first may seem minor compared to more serious ones. Indeed, many soft tissue injuries take a day or two before the full effects are felt by a person.
Keep in mind that they are asking you these questions while you may be incoherent, drowsy, uncomfortable, stressed out and possibly taking medication that masks the pain.
Also, your injury could initially seem minor, but over time may not heal completely and could become chronic pain. If you have a major injury you may not mention the minor or moderate injuries because they seem insignificant at the time. If you downplay any injuries or fail to mention them in this recorded statement, they will accuse you of lying later on when you try to get treatment for those injuries and you claim they were caused by the accident. At this point they will try to deny your claim.
Another way the insurance adjuster tries to minimize what they have to pay for a claim is by asking the victim specific details about the accident. You may have already told the police officer what happened, but now they are going to compare what you tell them in this recorded statement with your earlier statement to police. Any inconsistencies they find could be grounds to deny or minimize your potential claim. They may get you to guess if you aren’t sure about something and then accuse you of lying if you get the facts wrong. They get you to agree to facts and trick you into saying something you never intended to say.
The insurance adjuster may ask how fast the other driver was traveling at the time they hit them and get the person to guess at the answer. When the facts are finally known, if your guess is way off they will accuse you of exaggerating the speed of the other car and say you must also be exaggerating how bad your injuries will be.
One question they typically ask is where the defendant’s car came from. If you are unable to answer this question they could argue their insured did nothing wrong or you were not paying attention and couldn’t have seen what happened.
Keep in mind that you may be obliged to provide a recorded statement to your own insurance company if it is in your contract, but if so you should prepare yourself by gathering all the facts of your case or reviewing your police report before doing so.
Something you should keep in mind is that the insurance industry spends million of dollars to their public relations representatives make lawsuits against them from injury victims appear to be frivolous. They want potential jurors to believe that injured people are out to profit from insurance companies and ultimately raise insurance rates for the general public.
Big businesses and governments are also loathe to pay out compensation to victims and will try to minimize your losses and give you a lowball offer. People who are injured are entitled to be made whole under California law and lawyers are here to protect the rights of injured people to ensure they are fairly compensated. You deserve to get treatments that will make you better and to be compensated for losses such as wages, pain and suffering and loss of love and companionship in some cases.
Before you make a mistake by talking to the insurance companies and helping them minimize your claim, speak to a local personal injury attorney to find out what your rights are.
Contact Johnson Attorneys Group for a free consultation at 800-235-6801. We can help you maximize your results and get you the compensation you deserve.
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