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Vehicle accidents are often scary and confusing experiences for those involved. This is particularly true if there have been any injuries or fatalities as a result of the collision. In the aftermath of a crash, most parties involved will be dealing with insurance carriers when it comes to securing compensation for losses. You may be asked to give a recorded statement to an insurance carrier. Here, we want to discuss whether you are required to give a recorded statement and why giving such a statement could harm your personal injury claim.
While there are various statutes regarding reporting vehicle accidents after they occur, every driver needs to know that they are not required by law to give a recorded statement to any insurance carriers following a collision. This is important to point out because insurance carriers will certainly try to make it seem like giving a recorded statement is required. You are under no obligation to give a recorded statement, whether to your insurance carrier or to another driver’s insurance carrier.
Recorded statements can, and most certainly will, be used by insurance carriers when working to determine whether they will accept or deny your claim. Insurance carriers can use information that you give them in a recorded statement in a variety of ways.
Most people who are not at fault for a collision think that there is no reason they should not give a recorded statement to the insurance carriers involved. The thought process goes something like, “If I did nothing wrong, I have nothing to hide, right?”
Unfortunately, insurance adjusters are trained to ask questions and make conversation in such a way that will get you to admit fault to something without you even realizing you have given them information that can be used against you. Most insurance claims adjusters, even those for the other party involved, are going to seem very friendly. This is a tactic meant to throw you off guard and get you to talk freely about the crash or even just have a casual conversation with them about other topics. You need to understand that there is no such thing as a casual conversation with a claims adjuster, particularly when they are recording every word you make.
The insurance claims adjuster for the other driver involved is likely trying to get you to admit certain things that could place some or all of the fault for the crash on you. They could very subtly try to get you to admit that you did nothing to avoid the collision, even if the other driver was the one that caused it. An insurance claims adjuster may even try to get you to admit facts that are untrue, including getting you to admit that you may have been driving too fast or that you were following the other driver too closely. As soon as you say something in a recorded statement, this information can be used against you.
From the outset of any personal injury claim you may be involved in, you should consider working with a skilled Orange County personal injury lawyer to assist with your case. By involving an attorney early in the process, you can ensure that they will be the ones speaking to insurance carriers on your behalf.