You’re in an accident, you’re hurt, you’re taking pain medications or just generally feeling miserable. Your phone rings that day and it’s a call from one of the automobile insurance companies for the cars involved in the accident. The insurance representative that calls advises that he/she needs your “recorded statement” concerning the facts of the accident. Do you have to give the statement over the phone at that time? The quick answer is NO. You should never give an important statement immediately after an accident, when you are in pain or on medication that could effect your memory and ability to accurately detail the events.
Do you ever have to give a recorded statement to an insurance representative? Most times, no, but there may be certain situations in which a recorded statement is required. In such a situation the scope of the insurance company’s questions is limited. The good news is that if you are represented by an attorney, they will assist you in preparing for and giving the recorded statement. Your attorney will make sure that your insurance company does not go beyond the scope of the permitted questions. Your attorney will make sure that you are in the best condition emotionally and physically, to give a statement about the accident.
Do I have to provide a recorded statement to the at fault driver’s insurance company? The answer is NO. There is no duty for you to assist the at fault driver’s insurance company in investigating the claim. They will often assert that they are unable to move forward with your claim without a recorded statement from you. This is simply untrue. They have plenty of other ways of investigating a claim. They can speak with witnesses, the investigating police, review photographs, review police reports, look at the property damage, to name just a few ways available to them. If you give a recorded statement to the at fault insurance company you will often find that the statements are used against you later in litigation. Their questions are often misleading, slanted, require more information than is necessary, or require you to give an answer that is capable of more than one interpretation. The at fault insurance company is not there to help you - they are working to defeat or minimize your claim. They’re in business to stay in business.