Should I give a recorded statement after my Fairfax car accident?

Dealing with injuries you suffer in a car crash can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. If the other driver was negligent, it may be difficult to navigate the legal process and file a personal injury claim while coping with your injuries.

An insurance adjuster may call you within days of your car crash and request that you provide a recorded statement. However, before agreeing to provide one, it is crucial to consult with an experienced Fairfax car accident lawyer who can negotiate your settlement and protect your rights. Why you shouldn't give a recorded statement

What Is a Recorded Statement?

A recorded statement is a tape-recorded session with the insurance adjuster. It may be taken over the telephone or in person. The adjuster asks questions about the accident, your injuries, and other relevant details. You need to understand that this statement can have legal consequences and negatively impact the outcome of your claim.

Why Is the Insurance Company Requesting a Recorded Statement?

The insurance adjuster may tell you that giving a recorded statement is standard procedure in the insurance company's investigation and settlement of your claim. However, that is not true.

The adjuster's goal is to save their employer money. They want statements they can use to deny your claim or pay you substantially less than the full value of your claim.

Why You Should Not Give a Recorded Statement After a Fairfax Car Crash

You don't want to make mistakes that damage your case and force you to accept less money in your settlement. Here are reasons why you should refuse to agree to the insurance company's request:

Reason #1: You Are Not Required to Give a Recorded Statement

The insurance adjuster may tell you a recorded statement is required to settle your claim. However, under Virginia law, you are not obligated to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company. Exercise your rights, and refuse the insurance adjuster's request.

Reason #2: Your Statements Will Be Compared to Other Statements

The insurance company will likely gather statements from all parties involved in the crash and those who witnessed it. They will also review the statements you made to the police, your doctor, and others. In addition, you may have to give a deposition later if the insurance company refuses to offer you a reasonable settlement, and you must litigate your claim.

The insurance adjuster and their attorney will compare your recorded statement to these other statements. Any inconsistencies or contradictions between your recorded statement and other accounts may be used to challenge your credibility and the severity of your injuries.

Reason #3: You Do Not Know How Serious Your Injuries Are

Immediately following an auto accident, some injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, or internal organ damage, may not be apparent. In addition, you may not know the treatments you will need or how long your recovery will take. By providing a recorded statement before completely understanding the extent of your injuries, you may unintentionally underestimate or overlook their severity, potentially undermining your claim.

Reason #4: The Adjuster Could Ask Confusing Questions

Insurance adjusters are trained professionals who may ask you confusing questions in an attempt to elicit responses that minimize the at-fault party’s liability or weaken your case. If you agree to give a recorded statement, you may not understand what’s being asked of you, and you may be misled by the adjuster’s efforts to fluster you.

Reason #5: You Could Say Something That Hurts Your Case

No matter how carefully and accurately you try to answer the insurance adjuster’s questions, you might say something that could be misconstrued or taken out of context. The insurance company may use these statements to dispute your claim or reduce the amount of compensation they offer you.

Reason #6: Your Recorded Statement Can Be Used Against You

Once recorded, your statement will be transcribed into a written document. The insurance company will use any inconsistencies, contradictions, or self-incriminating remarks you made against you in settlement negotiations or court.

James R. Kearney
Fairfax and Northern Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer