When someone is injured in an auto accident or suffers another type of personal injury, they will most likely be dealing with the responsible party’s insurer if they are going to file a claim for compensation. Oftentimes, the insurance company will contact the injured individual within just a couple days of the accident, before they have time to get organized and seek legal counsel.
The insurance company representative will usually be very friendly and courteous, and they will act like they are on your side. They will ask how you are doing and reassure you that everything is going to be okay. After establishing rapport, they might also ask you to give them a recorded statement about the accident.
Should you agree to the insurer’s request for a recorded statement? The short answer to this question is, “no,” or at least not until you have spoken with an experienced personal injury attorney about your case.
Asking for a recorded statement may seem like an innocuous request, and it might be if it was being requested by a neutral party, a law enforcement investigator, for example. But you must keep in mind that no matter how much they try to tell you that they are in your corner, the insurer’s primary goal is to pay out as little as possible for your claim. And as such, their interests run counter to yours.
How a recorded statement can hurt your injury claim
Insurance companies employ a number of different tactics in order to minimize the amount of compensation they pay out for injuries caused by their clients, and one of those is to ask for a recorded statement. Although you are not required to provide this statement if it is being requested by another party’s insurer, they might imply that you need to because it is necessary to expedite the processing of your claim.
The problem with these types of statements is that insurers often use tricky or misleading questions that are designed to get you to say something that can be used against you. Remember that insurance adjusters have a lot of experience dealing with accident injury victims, and they are very good at twisting the answers given in the statements in order to weaken your case and thus strengthen theirs.
From the insurance company’s standpoint, the end goal of the recorded statement is to get you to admit at least some fault for the accident, and to get you to minimize the extent of your injuries. They will try to get you to say things like “I might have been going a little too fast through the intersection at the time of the crash,” or “I guess I was distracted by a call that came in on my phone.”
One of the biggest challenges with giving a recorded statement is the timing of it. For example, if you talk to the insurance company about your injuries a few days after an accident, you might not know the results of tests conducted by the doctor or the results of examinations from follow-up visits.
With some accident cases, the effects of the injuries are not felt until several days later. So, if you tell the insurance company representative that your injuries are minor and then you start to feel some serious neck and lower back pain later in the week, the answers you gave in your initial statement could come back to haunt you.
Contact an experienced West Virginia personal injury lawyer after being injured in an accident
If you have been injured in an accident and the insurance company is asking you for a recorded statement, you should at the very least decline their request until you’ve had a chance to talk to an attorney. They are in a hurry to get you on the record, because they want to settle the case as quickly as they can and for as little as possible.
Once you have retained legal counsel, your attorney will deal directly with the insurer. In addition, they will be present for any requested statement to help ensure that the insurance company representative cannot trap you with any misleading questions.
If your injury occurred in West Virginia, The Masters Law Firm, L.C. is here to help. We have several decades of experience successfully representing accident injury victims, and we know how to deal with the tactics commonly used by insurance companies. To schedule a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team, call our office today at 304-342-3106 or send us an online message.