When an accident occurs in Stuart, Florida, the insurance company becomes an inevitable party in the claim process. This is because insurance companies cover the cost and settlement associated with personal injury claims.
The third-party insurance adjuster will reach out to the victim to give a recorded statement about the car accident. Then, they will investigate the insurance claim to determine the extent of liability. They also review the accident case by speaking with other victims, researching records, and inspecting damaged properties.
Giving a recorded statement to the insurance company may seem harmless. However, the statement’s ulterior purposes may not be in the victim’s best interest. An accident often leaves a victim in a state of shock, confusion, severe pain, or with prescribed medication. Insurance adjusters can use this vulnerability to their advantage. This is because they are more focused on limiting their liability.
Before agreeing to give a recorded statement to the insurance company, you should contact a Stuart car accident lawyer.
What Is a Recorded Statement?
A recorded statement is a video or audio interview detailing the accident information. The recorded statement is later used to create a written document. The victim explains events that led up to the accident and those that followed afterward.
It is usually in the form of a question-and-answer session. The insurance adjusters craft the questions. Once a recorded statement is given, the victim cannot take it back. Therefore, it becomes part of the car accident claim evidence.
Insurance companies want to record the statement so they can hear both sides of the story. The statement forms part of their evaluation to determine whether their policyholder caused the crash, the victim’s role in the occurrence, and how much to pay as compensation.
Can a Victim Refuse to Make a Recorded Statement?
A victim has the right to refuse to make a recorded statement without legal representation. They can direct the insurance adjuster to speak with their lawyer to help protect their rights. An experienced Stuart car accident lawyer will prevent the victim from making any statement that could inadvertently hurt their claim.
The attorney will go over the statement and guide the victim to answer honestly. They will also prevent insurance adjusters from using misconstrued recorded information against the victim.
However, an insurance adjuster can insist on the victim giving a recorded statement before proceeding with their analysis. When this happens, politely end the conversation, and contact a lawyer.
Lastly, a victim may experience an uninsured motorist car accident. In this case, the victim may feel obligated to cooperate and give a recorded statement to their insurance company. Again, it is best to have a lawyer present.
What Are the Common Questions Asked for a Recorded Statement?
Some of the questions victims can expect when asked to give a recorded statement are:
- The victim’s full name, address, telephone number, and date of birth
- Questions about the victim’s car
- How many vehicles were involved
- Cause of the accident
- The victim’s employment status
- Location of the accident
- Identity of other passengers (if any)
- Identity of witnesses
- If the victim complied with state driving laws
- The response of the police authorities
- Types of injuries sustained (if any)
- If the victim has any medical condition or old injuries
- Medical treatment (if any)
- If the victim consents to being recorded, and
- If the recorded statement can be shared with other adjusters.
Reasons a Victim Should Not Give a Recorded Statement
There are many reasons why a victim should not give a recorded statement, especially without the representation of a car accident lawyer. Firstly, insurance adjusters lead the victim to answer questions in a way that will benefit their case.
They control the questions asked, handling them in a way that could have the victim accidentally admit partial or complete fault for the accident. The adjuster may also appear friendly to have the victim lower their guard and speak freely about the crash.
Secondly, a recorded statement can sometimes be detrimental to the victim’s personal injury claim. The questions are crafted to get a desired response from the victim. Occasionally, the questions asked may include information the victim is not legally obligated to disclose at the time.
When such information is disclosed, the victim may unknowingly devalue their claim. For example, information disclosed about pre-existing medical conditions, prescription medication, etc., can be used against the victim. The insurance adjuster can argue that the injury suffered was a pre-existing medical condition and not from the car accident.
Also, recorded statements can be used against the victim at trial in the future. Sometimes, court trials for accident claims occur years after the accident. The victim can find it difficult to recollect the event. As a result, the victim’s testimony may differ from what was stated in the recorded statement. When this happens, the statement will be presented to discredit the victim’s testimony.
Therefore, you shouldn’t give a recorded statement without consulting a lawyer first. However, if there is no way to avoid speaking with the adjuster, it’s best to insist on the information being unrecorded. Do this even if the evidence points to the other driver being the responsible party. Finally, note that there is currently no law in Florida requiring a crash victim to give a recorded statement.
What To Do When Making a Recorded Statement to the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company
After a car accident with severe injuries, the victim’s lawyer notifies the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Following the notification, the insurance adjuster will approach the victim. Below are helpful tips for dealing with insurance adjusters:
- Give only the basics of what happened in the accident
- Do not consent to give a recorded statement without legal representation
- Do not admit fault
- The answers given must be brief
- Do not guess or answer out of obligation
- Do not elaborate or volunteer any information
- If the injury was sustained in the accident, avoid discussing the severity with the insurance adjuster
- Do not go into full details about potential injuries because the extent and medical costs may not be ascertained yet
- Inform the insurance adjuster where the property or car was damaged so the adjuster can appraise and assess the repair cost
- Do not sign any insurance statement or document without first consulting with a lawyer for review
- Avoid revealing details about your personal life
- Prepare an outline for the recorded statement ahead of time with the facts of the claim
Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in Stuart, Florida
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a car accident in Stuart, Florida, consult a Stuart personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. Don’t take the insurance adjuster’s friendliness as a sign of good faith as their interest is in saving the company money. The person who will guide you and focus on your interests during the claims process is your attorney.
Our legal team at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers has extensive experience handling personal injury claims. We will handle all communications with the insurer and aggressively pursue the case when you seek compensation. We work on a contingency fee basis and offer free initial consultations. Contact our firm at (561) 500-8000 to set up an appointment today.