Dealing with the after-effects of an accident injury can be stressful, and if you were injured by a careless driver you may find yourself involved in insurance matters as well. You've already spoken to your own insurance carrier about the accident, but what if the at-fault driver's insurance carrier contacts you? You should be aware that anything you say to that insurance adjuster could end up harming your claim for fair compensation. No matter how close they claim to be to cutting you that big check, and no matter how nice the caller seems, speaking to them is not in your best interest. Read on to learn about why you are being contacted and what could go wrong if you agree to give a recorded statement.
Why are you being contacted? In all likelihood, the fine print in your own auto insurance policy requires you to cooperate with insurance claims by answering some questions while being recorded. You should understand, however, that you are under no obligation to do so with the other guy's carrier. All insurance companies, (even your own), are businesses that need to make a profit. Paying out on insurance claims means less profit for them, and they employ people who are specifically-trained to question accident victims with the sole purpose of reducing their liability.
What could go wrong with giving a recorded statement? Unfortunately, the natural desire to be honest and cooperative works against those who are being recorded for claim purposes. The adjuster will use several tricky techniques in an attempt to provoke you to say something that will jeopardize your claim. Commonly used tactics include:
- Asking the same question several times, and using different answers as proof of dishonesty.
- Asking open-ended questions and allowing you to go on and on at some length. Most people are uncomfortable with silences, and will say almost anything to fill the vacant air. Rambling on often results in people saying things they did not intend to say.
- Comparing your statement against other evidence and statements. Everything you say to anyone about the accident may be compared to your recorded statement, and any inconsistencies could come back to haunt you. Memory, particularly after a traumatic event like a car accident, can play tricks on you. You may not remember everything that happened right away, and sometimes you remember events and details only after weeks or months. Don't allow this issue to harm your claim; speak only to your attorney about the accident.
- Asking leading questions, such as "You may have been going a bit faster than the speed limit at the time of the accident, right?".
Speak to your accident attorney for more information about how speaking about the accident could impact your claim.