After being involved and injured in an accident, you will likely hear from an insurance claims adjuster. The insurance adjuster wants to know how the accident occurred, which seems reasonable. However, an adjuster from the liable party’s insurance company has one primary objective – to settle your claim for as little as possible and save the company money. In order to do so, an insurance claims adjuster may ask for a recorded statement.
One of the questions we hear often from our Kentucky injury clients is, “Am I legally mandated to give a recorded statement to the insurance company?” The answer is no, you are not. We tell our clients not to provide a recorded statement to the adjuster and direct that all communication with the insurance company go through our office.
Your own insurance company may ask you to make a statement regarding your accident and injuries, and there is likely some sort of clause in your policy requiring you to do so. However, you are under no obligation to provide either company with a recorded statement, and you absolutely should consult with your personal injury attorney first.
Why do insurance adjusters want my statement?
When you are in a car accident and the at-fault party’s insurance company contacts you and requests a recorded statement, they are doing so for a variety of reasons, and none of them – no matter what the adjuster might say – are in your best interests. Generally, they want to use your statement against you. Think about it this way. There is a reason that people who are accused of a crime, even when they are innocent, tell authorities, “I’m not saying anything without my attorney.” They are not obligated to say anything that could potentially incriminate themselves, and neither are you.
The other party’s insurance company may try to contact you for a statement too soon following the accident. Adjusters do this in an effort to catch you off-guard, even before you have had a chance to read the police report or see a doctor about your injuries. You may not even know you are seriously injured yet. The details of the accident may still be unclear. Your car might still be at the tow yard.
One of the examples we like to use is an insurance adjuster calling you after the incident and asking, “Hi! How are you?” Your polite response of “Fine, thank you” could be misconstrued by the adjuster as you saying you “feel fine” and are exaggerating or lying about your injuries. This is an oversimplification, of course, but it gives you an understanding of the types of tactics adjusters try to employ.
If you do give a statement to an insurance company after an accident
In the event you do give a statement, it is important to talk with your Kentucky injury attorney first. Then, ensure you keep the following in mind so you do not jeopardize your case:
- Ask that your statement is NOT recorded
- Provide facts only, using concise statements, answering only the question being asked
- Be honest
- Do not minimize your injuries, but do not exaggerate them either
- If you do not remember or do not know, say so – do not guess
- Never consent, verbally or by signature, to anything like a settlement or releasing your medical records without first speaking to your attorney
Your lawyer can go over your statement with you, or accompany you to any necessary meetings with the insurance adjuster. Our attorneys are happy to interact with the insurance company on your behalf, so you do not have to deal with them at all and can focus on recovering from your injuries.
What should I say when an adjuster asks for a recorded statement?
Nothing can stop the adjuster from asking you for a statement, but you are under no obligation to give them one under the law, no matter what they might tell you. You can simply say no, and direct them to your attorney.
How a Kentucky personal injury attorney can help
The most prudent thing you can do after suffering an injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence is, after seeking medical attention, consulting with a lawyer. The last thing you need to be doing after going through a traumatic experience is dealing with the stress and red tape of an insurance company and its tactics. Your attorney can take over this correspondence for you and:
- Speak with the insurance adjuster on your behalf
- Collect necessary documents, including police reports, medical records, and other information
- Negotiate and review settlement offers
- Negotiate outstanding medical bills and health insurance liens
- Advocate for your best interests in the event of a delay or denial of benefits
- Represent you in court should it be necessary to take your case to trial
An experienced attorney understands both the law and the insurance system, and how to work toward a successful outcome. Taking the time you need to heal as best you can from your injuries is the best way to participate in the personal injury claims process.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured because of someone else’s negligence, talk to one of the Kentucky attorneys at Wilt Injury Lawyers before you talk to the insurance company. We work to protect your rights to maximum compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We want to help. To set up a meeting with a lawyer, call our offices or fill out our contact form. We serve people in Louisville and Lexington, and throughout the state.