You are not required to give a statement to the insurance adjuster. Oftentimes, the adjuster will say, “I need a statement from you in order to process your claim”. Well, technically they don’t need a statement from you in order to process your claim. What they’re trying to do is to get a recorded statement of you saying somehow that you were at fault or you are not injured to the degree that you ultimately are. And it’s difficult in the very beginning after a car accident because oftentimes you don’t know the full extent of your injury within the first couple of days of the car accident.
See A Doctor
You have to get treatment. You have to go to your doctor. And you have to wait to see how this resolves. How is this injury ultimately going to heal or if it doesn’t heal, what will it leave me with for the rest of my life.
No Recorded Statement
There are situations where you may not feel too much pain or significant pain right when you pick up the phone to call the insurance adjuster, 5 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes after the accident because your adrenaline is still pumping in your body. You haven’t yet calmed down enough to feel those symptoms that are going to start coming on right after that. So I would always tell people:
“Don’t give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster without talking to an attorney first”.
There’s no law that says that you have to have an attorney before you talk to an insurance adjuster. There’s no law that says you have to give a recorded statement. There’s no law that says you don’t have to give a recorded statement. If you do give a recorded statement, the insurance adjuster is required to give you a copy, either an audible copy of that statement or a transcribed copy of that statement upon your request.
So if you want to know what you said, because maybe you don’t remember, you can always ask the insurance company to give you a copy of that recorded statement. If you come to my office and you retain my office to represent you in a personal injury case, that’s always the first thing we do. We send a letter of representation to the insurance company. We ask for any recorded statements that you may have given, so that we can know what you said when you first talked to the insurance company adjuster, and we can handle it however it needs to be handled. If you give a recorded statement to an insurance company, it might come back to bite you later on down the road, depending on what you say.
So if you are trying to get your car repaired, you’re at the body shop and the insurance adjuster takes your recorded statement, and they ask you, “How are you doing?”, “Are you feeling okay?” and you say, “Yeah, I’m all right” or, “I’m okay” and then, later on, that evening, the pain starts to become more substantial. You decide to go either to an urgent care or the emergency room to get treated. The insurance company might bring that statement back six months down the road and say, “Now that you claim you’re injured, shortly after the car accident you didn’t say that you were hurt at all. In fact, you said that you were okay. What happened in that six, seven hours between when you said that you were okay and when you went to the emergency room?” So if you give a recorded statement to an insurance company, it might come back to bite you in the future.