Should I Give My Insurance Company a Recorded Statement?

Following a car accident, an insurance company may ask you to provide a recorded statement. If this insurance company is the other driver’s, there is no reason to do this. If it is your own, you may be obligated. However, you have the right to postpone it until you consult with an attorney or have one present for the call.

What happens during a recorded statement

Usually, an insurance adjuster will call you and ask that you provide a recorded statement. They will ask for identifying details like your name, address, and birth date. Then they will usually ask about the accident, how it occurred, and how you felt in the aftermath.

Beware when answering anything other than basic biographical information. If you answer other questions, they may be used against you. For example, if the adjuster asks how you are doing and you politely reply that you are fine, the carrier can use the response to show that you were not hurt.

Further, if you speak with the company within the first day, you may not know how the true extent of your injuries. You could develop pain, for example, from a soft tissue injury.  Yet, the company can use your earlier statements to paint your later claim as untruthful.

Duty to cooperate with your own insurance company

Usually, it is the other driver’s insurance company that requests a recorded statement. There is no need to comply and much better if you do not. But it is another story when the request comes from your own insurance company.

You do have a contractual relationship with your insurance company. Refusing to comply with a request for a statement may violate the terms of that contract. The carrier may refuse to continue paying PIP benefits under New York no-fault insurance. However, you can politely state that you would like to speak with your attorney first or that you wish to have your attorney present.

What to include in a recorded statement

Here are some ways to protect your rights if you give a recorded statement:

  • Never admit fault. It may seem polite to apologize but will only lead to trouble; the insurance company can use it against you.
  • Only answer the question asked. Do not veer off-course or keep talking when you do not need to. It is natural to try to fill the silence if there is a pause in the conversation, but that often leads to volunteering information.
  • Say as little as possible. Be polite and accurate, but do not explain any more than what you were asked. What might seem like a pleasantry or even a throw-away comment could be twisted in ways you did not intend.
  • Never guess. If you do not know the answer to a question, say so, and move on.
  • Ask for clarification if you do not understand a question. Guessing at the meaning can lead you to provide an incorrect answer.
  • Ask that the statement not be recorded. The company may still ask you questions without making an audio recording of the session.

Whether it is after you give a statement or at some other point, if the insurance company asks you to sign papers, do not until you have an attorney review it. Insurance companies aim to settle cases as quickly and cheaply as possible. However, once you accept a settlement, you sign away your right to pursue any other related damages. This holds even if your injuries are more severe than originally thought.

An NYC attorney can help you deal with insurance companies

When you have suffered an injury in an accident, protect your rights by choosing a caring and aggressive advocate who is willing to stand up to insurance companies on your behalf. The time after a crash is stressful. The attorneys at Douglas & London in Manhattan are here to answer your questions. Call today to schedule a free, confidential conversation with a New York car accident attorney.