With the flurry of activity that comes after a serious auto accident, it can be easy for an injury victim not to give a second thought when an involved insurance company calls asking for a statement or other information. While it is necessary to provide some basic and concrete information to get your claim started, giving too much without the advice of an attorney — even to your own insurance company — can come back to cause you harm at a later time.
Insurance companies generally try to downplay the importance of such statements. However, under California’s Rules of Evidence, they can actually play a role during an eventual trial in several ways:
To contradict a plaintiff’s live testimony to the extent it is inconsistent
To highlight and bolster unfavorable aspects of a plaintiff’s live testimony
To hold the plaintiff to a prior account if the person’s memories of the event faded
While these concerns may seem obvious in relation to the adverse party’s insurance company, you should be equally careful with your own. In cases where the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, your own insurance company can quickly turn into the adversary if you file a UM/UIM claim. It is often difficult to tell at the early stages whether the at-fault driver has sufficient insurance. Therefore, a UM/UIM claim is always a possibility.