In the days after a car accident, an insurance representative may contact you to confirm a few details of the crash, or to ask you a few quick questions about your claim. Oh, they mention offhandedly, this call will be recorded. The easiest way to remember how to handle this situation: listen to John’s warning, and say NO to a recorded statement!
Are Statements to Insurance Adjusters Required?
Absolutely not! Insurance adjusters use statements against you, period. They want you to say something that can be used to deny or devalue your claim. Any comment you make that could be taken as an admission of fault, an indication that your injuries are not serious, or that you haven’t suffered monetary losses will definitely impact the amount offered for your claim.
Here are just some of the ways adjusters will use a recorded statement to gather evidence against you:
- They will sound nice. Many insurance representatives are trained to speak with customers in a friendly, conversational manner. They may joke with you or offer condolences on the accident, getting you to open up and say something you regret—or to hide the fact that they are asking you the same questions over and over, trying to get a different answer.
- Numbers. Your adjuster may ask for a few numbers that you can easily rattle off: your phone number, your address, your license plate number—and oh, can you tell us your Social Security number? While some details may be necessary to your claim, your insurance adjuster definitely does not need your Social Security number—and once they have it, they can use it to search your financial history and other intimate details.
- Just sign here! An insurer may ask you to provide signed documents along with your claim, such as a medical records release. While the insurer will need some medical proof of your injuries, these requests should be limited to the date of the crash onwards. Unfortunately, claimants may sign on the dotted line without checking whether the release covers all medical records, allowing the insurance company to dig through his or her complete medical history to deny coverage for injuries.
- “It’s our policy.” Adjusters often claim that recorded statement are “part of the process,” “just a formality” or “our company policy,” or similar language that implies that the statement is mandatory. Make no mistake, the insurer doesn’t need a recorded statement to process your claim, but they will make you believe that it is necessary because they want you to comply.
- Calling when you are at a disadvantage. You’re in pain, possibly on medications that can impair your judgment, and probably still reeling from the physical and psychological trauma of the accident. Your answers may be hazy, misleading, or charged with emotion—because their questions will be designed to evoke these responses.
Help Yourself (Not the Insurance Adjuster)
Another tactic insurance representatives may use is discouraging you from seeking outside help on your claim. They may tell you that hiring an attorney is unnecessary, that you can get what you want just by dealing with them. Sometimes, an adjuster will even make false statements about the costs of car accident attorneys, claiming that a lawyer will take all of your settlement. If an insurance company’s representative tries to talk you out of speaking to an attorney, there is a good chance that your claim is worth much more than what is being offered.
If you were hurt in an auto accident that was not your fault, you have a right to seek financial compensation for all of your losses related to the crash. Our injury lawyers can answer your questions and tell you your next steps at no cost to you—and if you decide to hire us to represent you, we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery. To set up a free initial consultation, simply fill out the short contact form on this page. For more information, you can also request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.