SHOULD I GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT TO THE INSURANCE ADJUSTER AFTER A CAR WRECK?
Nov. 10, 2021
In 2020, the state of Texas saw an increase of 7.54% in motor vehicle accident fatalities, with one person dying every two hours and fifteen minutes based on reported accident data. Such numbers demonstrate there are far too many accident victims, no matter how big the state of Texas is. Whether an accident involves property damage, minimal physical injuries, catastrophic injuries, or death, your insurance company will be involved.
As a Texas personal injury attorney, I devote my practice to representing the rights of accident victims who suffer injuries. If you are faced with contacting your insurance company following an accident, consider reaching out to my office to learn about your legal options. I will provide you with a free and impartial case evaluation. My firm, Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law, proudly serves clients in and around Houston, Texas, as well as Webster, Pasadena, Alvin, League City, and other parts of the state.
INSURANCE ADJUSTER’S ROLE
Insurance companies are for-profit institutions with a common goal of making money. Car insurance is not only required under Texas law, but car insurance is critical to ensuring an accident victim receives compensation for pain and suffering, economic loss (medical expenses and lost wages), and property damage. However, even when you may not be at fault for causing or contributing to the cause of the accident you were injured in, an insurance adjuster may find a way to minimize your damages.
Insurance adjusters are tasked with duties that include, but may not be limited to, the following:
Evaluating the damage to your vehicle;
Evaluating the accident scene and other vehicles involved in the accident (if possible);
Obtaining statements from you and any other witnesses;
Obtaining copies of medical records to evaluate your alleged injuries; and
Reaching a conclusion as to fault/liability.
Because insurance adjusters are working for the insurance companies and not for you, it is a good idea to consider speaking with a Houston personal injury lawyer first before speaking with an insurance adjuster.
REQUESTS FOR YOUR STATEMENT ABOUT THE ACCIDENT
You are required to report an accident to your insurance company, but you are not required to provide a recorded statement. Insurance companies are notorious for obtaining recorded statements from accident victims. Although you do not have to give consent to the insurance company to record your statement, you may unknowingly believe you are obligated to do so. Insurance agents and adjusters have a way with words that lead many individuals to consent to something without even realizing it.
While giving a recorded statement to an insurance company will not automatically prevent you from having a successful insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, any statements you give could be used against you to demonstrate the weakness of your claim from the insurance company’s perspective. Such perceived weaknesses in your claim may result in a low settlement offer from your insurance company.
WHAT TO SAY IF YOU CHOOSE TO GIVE A STATEMENT
If you do want to provide your insurance company with some information about your accident, you may want to consider the following tips before getting on the phone:
Ask not to be recorded;
Do not admit guilt;
Do not answer questions you do not know the answer to;
Do not volunteer information (i.e., only answer the question being asked if you are adamant you know the correct answer);
Keep the conversation brief; and
Consider seeking the assistance of a Houston personal injury attorney to prepare for the call.
WHAT INFORMATION WILL MY INSURANCE COMPANY WANT FROM ME?
Your insurance company will want the same information as any party involved in the car accident. If you choose to work with an attorney, your attorney will also want the same information requested by your insurance company. Such information includes, but may not be limited to, the following:
Your statement regarding the accident (what happened from your perspective);
A copy of the accident report generated by the police (if one exists);
Witness statements from others involved in the accident (including passengers, other drivers, and witnesses who may have seen the accident but were not directly involved);
Your medical records that document your personal injuries; and
Potentially information about your social media accounts (if you have any).
Social media postings have become the subject of many depositions in personal injury lawsuits. Many postings are public, and any public statements made by you could show up as an exhibit in a deposition should you pursue a lawsuit. As such, be careful what you post on your social media accounts. Avoiding a discussion of an accident and injuries you suffered is a good idea when you are involved in an insurance claim or lawsuit.
HOW A HOUSTON PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY CAN HELP
Because car accident claims can create confusion, stress, and feelings of uncertainty, allowing me to help you throughout the process is something you may want to think about. As an attorney, it is my job to protect your rights and advise you of how the law may apply to your situation.
Although no attorney can guarantee positive case results, I can assure you that I will make every effort to help you achieve a positive outcome. To learn more about the legal services I offer to clients in and around Houston, Texas, contact Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law today.