If you have been involved in an auto accident, you may be going through a very turbulent and challenging time. If you sustained injuries from the accident, then you should be working closely with your medical provider to obtain the treatments needed to get you on the road to recovery. You might also be looking at missing work while you are getting treated and going through rehabilitation. If the injury is more serious, this process might take quite a bit longer, perhaps several months or more.
While all of this is happening, you will be contacted at some point by the insurance company. In many cases, you may hear from the insurer for the at-fault driver within just a few days. The insurance company representative is usually friendly, courteous, and seemingly empathetic. They will call and ask how you are doing and assure you that everything is going to be okay. Shortly thereafter, they might request that you provide them a recorded statement about the accident.
The insurance company representative might make it seem like giving a recorded statement is standard operating procedure. And they might make you feel like you are obligated to comply with this request. They might not tell you that directly, but they may imply that by providing them with a recorded statement, it will help ensure that the claim gets processed smoothly so you can get your settlement check sooner.
It is very important to understand that you are under no obligation to give the insurance company a recorded statement, and you should never do so without being represented by an attorney. It is never in your best interests to give the insurer any type of statement on the record without legal representation, because such statements can be used to undermine your claim.
Why Does the Insurer Want a Recorded Statement?
Before considering whether or not to provide a recorded statement, it helps to understand the motivation of the insurance company. As we talked about earlier, they might come across as kind and courteous, and we know that they portray themselves to the public as “like a good neighbor” or “the good hands people”.
The truth is that insurance companies are not in business to take care of people, they are in business to make a profit. This is not necessarily an indictment of their industry, it’s just business. In order to maximize profits, they need to pay out as little as possible for injuries that are caused by their insured. And as such, their interests are not aligned with yours.
Insurance companies are professional organizations with representatives who are very good at what they do. They have various tactics that they can use to help protect their employer’s bottom line, and one such tactic is to have an injury claimant provide a recorded statement.
How a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company Can Hurt your Claim
By getting the injured person to go on the record, the insurer can use their words against them later to minimize the amount that is paid for their claim or even to deny their claim altogether. One way a recorded statement could hurt you is if you end up with delayed symptoms from the accident that do not show up until several days or weeks later. For example, if you start to experience extreme pain in your neck and lower back sometime after the recording, the insurance company might deny treatment for these problems because you did not mention them in your original statement.
Another thing that could happen with a recorded statement as you may give an answer that implies that you were at least partially at fault for the accident. You might not remember all of the circumstances of the crash even a day or two later, and you might not be totally sure of everything that happened. But whatever the case, make sure you do not admit any kind of fault for the crash.
If the insurance company can get you to take even partial responsibility for the accident, this can be especially problematic in a state like Alabama. In Alabama, an injured party can be barred from recovering damages even if they are 1% at fault for the underlying accident or event. This is all the more reason to get a skilled and knowledgeable attorney involved in your case as early as possible, so your right to recover compensation can be fully protected.
Injured in a Car Crash in Alabama? Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone close to you suffered injury in an auto accident, do NOT give a recorded statement to an insurance company without speaking with a lawyer first. If the accident occurred in Alabama, M. Adam Jones and Associates is ready to go to work for you. Call our office today or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment.