Should You Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company After a Car Accident?

  • Oct 18, 2022

Updated: Jun 26

A recorded statement is simply a set of questions and answers by the adjuster. You should never give a recorded statement.

What is a recorded statement?

After you’ve been involved in an accident (car, motorcycle, bike, slip & fall, etc., etc.), the insurance company representing the other driver will usually contact you for a recorded statement. A recorded statement is simply an adjuster asking you a set of questions about the accident. Your answers are recorded and later transcribed. The purpose of a recorded statement is usually to get the underlying facts about the accident and how it happened, but there is often a more sinister goal behind these recorded statements.

Are you required to give a recorded statement?

Many people try to handle their own car accident claim, especially if the damages are relatively minor. In return, the insurance company will always request a recorded statement before they even begin negotiations. Or sometimes the other side’s insurance company will contact you for a recorded statement before you’ve had a chance to retain an attorney. It is critical to remember that you do not have or need to give a recorded statement. There is no federal or state law mandating you to give one – despite what an insurance adjuster may claim.

How will a recorded statement be used against you?

Insurance companies have a duty to their clients to pay claims and to defend them in lawsuits. However, they also have a duty to their shareholders to maximize their profits, and they do this by denying claims or finding ways to deny claims. One strategy often used by insurance companies to regularly reject claims is to ask for a recorded statement in the hopes of discovering inaccurate or damaging information. They will attempt to compare the recorded statement to a formal deposition later on, and any inaccuracies, contradictions, or false information will then be used against you in mediation, arbitration, or a trial.

Even true and accurate facts at the time the statement was given may create inconsistencies in your case later on because your injuries may get worse or change, witnesses may be found who would recount a different version of how the accident happened, or additional unknown details may come out. The point is, there are are lot of opportunities for an insurance company to manipulate these recorded statements to their own advantage.

What if your own insurance company asks for a recorded statement

Where it gets tricky is when your own insurance company asks for a recorded statement. Under an insurance policy agreement, you have a duty to cooperate with them, which often means providing them a recorded statement or other evidence if they request it. So there is often little choice but to give one since failing to do so may put you in breach and your policy may be cancelled. It is important to note that giving a recorded statement to your own insurance company can still create issues later on if you end up utilizing your underinsured or uninsured motorist policy to recover damages. At which point your own insurance company may, but not necessarily, use your own recorded statement to reduce or deny your claims. So even though you must cooperate with your own insurance company and provide a recorded statement to them, it is wise to either consult with an attorney or hire an attorney before doing so.

What should you do if you’ve been asked to give a recorded statement after an accident?

Accident victims in California have rights, and one of them is to be represented by an attorney. When an insurance company asks you for a recorded statement, the answer should always be “no” until you have had a chance to speak with an attorney. If the adjuster insists that you need to give one, simply hang up and contact an attorney immediately. Remember, the insurance company is not your friend and there is no law or policy which requires you to give a recorded statement.

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