If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may soon be receiving a call from the other driver's insurance company. Though you may be somewhat stunned to hear from them at first, you are reassured by the polite and personable caller on the other end of the line. Sometimes you may be told that the insurance company is about to cut a check for you to settle your case, but first need to get some additional information about the accident. You should know that if you agree to speak to this caller, you could placing your personal injury case in extreme jeopardy. Read on to find out what the purpose of this call is and how to handle it.
Why can't you just give them a statement?
No matter how nice the caller seems, they are actually employed by the at-fault driver's insurance company, and they are an insurance adjuster. This employee's main purpose is to do everything possible to keep the insurance company from paying out on accidents. Insurance companies must make a profit, and they cannot do so if they pay out too much on claims. When you speak to an adjuster, you could end up saying something that could present problems for your claim. For example, consistency in statements is paramount. If your details vary from telling to telling, your account of the accident could be considered untrustworthy. Any inconsistencies could result in the at-fault party's reduced liability, which could lessen your settlement amount. It's only natural to add in more details as your memory of the event returns or to change some facts by omission or accident. When you consider how many people you must give a report of the accident to, it's easy to see how inconsistencies could occur.
How will they use the statement?
If you consent to a recorded statement, it will be scrutinized and compared with anything you have said to:
- The other driver at the scene.
- The witnesses at the scene.
- The first responders at the scene.
- The many medical personnel you come in contact with at the hospital during your stay.
Additionally, if you have given a deposition in preparation for a trial, your recorded testimony may be compared to your recorded phone statement.
Can you give a statement to your own insurance company?
When it comes to giving a statement to your own insurance company, you may have little choice. This provision is often a requirement of coverage. You can, however, have your attorney on hand to ensure that your statement doesn't conflict with other information.
For more information about giving a recorded statement, contact a personal injury attorney like those at the Littman & Babiarz Law Office.