If you’ve been involved in an accident, it’s understandable if you are confused and overwhelmed in the aftermath. You may have physical injuries and emotional trauma swirling in your head. At the same time, insurance adjusters are approaching you demanding to know what happened. You want to be helpful and forthcoming, but should you? The answer is no.
Two insurance companies may contact you — your own insurer and the insurer of the other vehicle involved in the accident. Let’s take the case of the other driver’s insurance company first. You are under no obligation to give them a recorded statement, and you should never do it. The insurance adjuster will put a lot of pressure on you to give a statement that indicates your fault or give them a reason to pay as little as possible on the claim. They are skilled at this and employ many tricks to achieve their goals. For instance, they may ask you questions designed to show that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim or to show that you made your injuries worse by failing to seek proper medical treatment.
When the insurance adjuster from your own insurance company is seeking your recorded statement, a few different rules apply. Most insurance policies contain a “Duty to Cooperate” clause and the failure to cooperate can be grounds to deny coverage. Thus, if it is your own insurance company asking for a recorded statement, you should still try to avoid giving the statement, but you may have to give it. You do have the right to consult with your attorney before giving the statement (and you should) and you also have the right to have your attorney present during the statement.
Although you want to be helpful and forthcoming after an accident, it’s important to remember that the main purpose of any recorded statement you give will be to use it to contradict something you testify to at trial. It’s called impeachment and remember this: any statement you give will only be used against you.