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Auto Accident Traps: Recorded Statements
Insurance Companies Aren’t Your Friend
The first and most important rule to remember is, you have no friends at the insurance company. This includes your own insurance carrier. Insurance adjusters are not in the business of being fair.
Insurance adjusters are well trained negotiators. Their job is to save their company and shareholders money. They achieve this by denying as many claims as possible. If they can’t deny a claim, they will try to close it quick and cheap.
The Concerned Call
You’re injured in an auto accident, caused by someone else. Shortly after the accident, the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster calls you.
They seem friendly and concerned, like an old friend. They say, “we understand your dilemma and want to help.” Before they can compensate you, you are “required” to give a recorded statement.
Depending on the circumstances, “required” may or may not actually be true.
What Harm Can Come from Giving Recorded Statements?
Plenty! The at-fault party’s insurance carrier doesn’t need a statement from you. They have already talked to their client and have an accident report. They’re sole purpose is to find ways to deny or reduce compensation for your accident claim. How is this accomplished?
Recorded statements are a permanent record. The insurance adjuster compares all statements or information you have given. They are looking for inconsistencies in the information. Inconsistencies are used to chip away at your accident claim. If they can find inconsistencies, you will be accused of lying.
Additionally, they are looking for admissions against interest like “I’m feeling okay today.” Everyone of these sorts of admissions can and will be used against you.
Trap Questions During Recorded Statements
Adjusters use the questions asked during recorded statements that are designed to hurt your claim. For example, they may ask:
- Were you transported to the hospital, following the accident? – If you didn’t ride in an ambulance, your injuries aren’t serious.
- How are you feeling today? – If you answer that you’re feeling “well” or “good”, your injuries can’t be serious.
- What is your prior medical history? – Insurance adjusters will blame your injuries on prior surgeries or medical conditions.
- Were you wearing your seat belt? – Florida’s comparative negligence law is often a factor in auto accidents. Even if you didn’t cause the accident, you can be held liable for your injuries.
- Were you driving the vehicle for business purposes? – If you answer yes, the adjuster may say that your employer’s insurance policy is liable for your claim.
- Did your airbag deploy? – If you have injuries and the airbag didn’t deploy, the insurance adjuster may say the auto manufacturer is liable.
- Did the weather contribute to the accident? – Weather conditions during an accident can be important in determining liability and negligence. Unless you’re an accident reconstruction expert, you’re being asked to guess.
- Can you describe how the accident happened? – Again, they have the accident report. They want contradictory information. This helps point the finger at anyone else, besides the driver that hit you.
Giving Recorded Statements Alone – “BIG” Mistake
Over the years, our lawyers have seen recorded statements ruin countless car accident claims. Insurance adjusters don’t care about your best interests. This includes adjusters from your own insurance company.
Before giving any recorded statements, protect yourself. Consult with an attorney. An experienced auto accident lawyer can protect you from the insurance company’s tactics.
Lutz, Bobo & Telfair, P.A. is a Martindale-Hubbell AV rated law firm. We have over 300 years combined legal experience. We offer free case reviews for auto accident claims. We also handle accident claims on a contingency fee basis. This means we charge no attorney’s fees, unless we settle your claim or win a favorable verdict in court.