After 22 years of practicing law I can think of only two reasons why insurance company adjusters want to talk with the person who will be asking their company for money, and neither reason is good for you. First, they want you to admit some fault in the accident and then charge a % of accident fault to you. Second, they want to document your injuries at a point in time where you might not even understand them, or even be aware of all of the injuries you are suffering
Insurance company adjusters are taught to be noncommittal about fault, and to inform you that they need a little more information before making any decisions. This delay tactic is taught to allow them the opportunity to get you to say something on the record that is damaging to your case, on tape or by digital recording. Because even if the police report and all the witnesses agree you were not at fault, if you admit some fault, then your case is weakened by a percentage of contrubutory negligence. Adjusters really have no reason to talk with you except to get you to say something about the facts OR your injuries that will allow them to either deny your claim or to pay you less than you deserve. There is NO other reason for them to talk to you. Consult a lawyer – you may need representation.
The adjusters will NEVER tell you this, but you can decline to give a recorded statement. There is no law that requires you to give the opposition a recorded statement; unless of course you’ve filed suit with your hired attorney. Then you will be required to give a deposition which is a sworn statement under oath where you are questioned by an attorney, with your attorney present with you.
There is nothing wrong with refusing to give a recorded statement to the opposing adjuster, and it is perfectly fine to decline such an invitation by the adjuster for the other at-fault driver’s insurance company. Simply say that until you are represented you would rather not give a recorded statement. If the adjuster insists or implies that by refusing to do so you are admitting fault OR that he or she will not admit fault on the part of his or her company’s driver, then that adjuster is making it perfectly clear to you that you need to hire a lawyer.
Many people believe being honest is the best policy and thus will accept the insurance adjuster’s request/demand to submit to a recorded statement, because they feel to do otherwise may appear dishonest. Honesty has nothing to do with declining this invitation until you are represented and have an opportunity to be prepared by a lawyer to give the statement in a proper way that doesn’t hurt your claim. Until a lay person understands how false impressions can be created through the questioning by highly skilled and trained insurance adjusters, they are at a decided disadvantage by giving such a statement.
So my advice is simple and alsways the same, turn down the request or demand that is coming to allow a recorded statement by the adjuster, and consult a lawyer. And it should be a personal injury lawyer from Injuryboard familiar with the process who knows how to prepare you to understand the statement process. Not only do we prepare our clients for the statement process, but are present with the clients wen they give their recorded statements.
SUMMARY: Consult legal counsel before giving recorded statement to insurance carrier adjusters, and protect your legal rights!
A partner with Inserra & Kelley, Attorneys At Law since 1993, Craig Kelley focuses on personal injury law with a large emphasis on motorcycle and bicycle related cases and claims with the goal of first helping clients heal and then getting speedy resolution of their disputes.