Recorded Statement — Do I have to give one after a car accident?

The recorded statement is a guarantee step in the claim investigation process.

Insurance adjusters will be calling you to ask if they can take your statement about the accident. Many people believe that they have to give these statements so the insurance company provides coverage for the loss. Most insurance companies have Cooperation Clauses in them, but none of them can require you to give a recorded statement in the event of a car accident.

You have the constitutional right to remain silent and to not testify against your own person. Even in murder trials, the right to no self incrimination is respected. The concept carries over to car accidents. No one can bound coverage and require you to be in a recording giving testimony of facts.

Taking a recorded statement is entirely voluntary. Do not let the insurance company tell you otherwise. If they tell you that the cooperation clause in your policy says that you must cooperate, then you can tell them that you will cooperate by giving a verbal statement (same statement just not recorded).

The cooperation clause is just that, a clause that requires you to help the insurance company�s investigation. It does not say that you have to do it under a recorded statement. If they are too pushy, then ask them to put their requirements on writing and verify what they are telling you against your actual policy.

Benefits v. Harms of a Recorded Statement

The benefit is that your insurance company will be able to better document your file. If there is a dispute about fault, and your case goes to arbitration, the arbitrator will probably look at a file with a recorded statement as having better evidence than a file without one. I have seen arbitrators decide that one person�s version of events was �more convincing� because she/he was willing to put their words in a recording.

The harms of giving a �bad recorded statement �could be many, delay in the investigation for something that you said that could bar coverage, complete denial of coverage, fault being construed against you, interpretation of your words against you, etc.

If you think that giving a recorded statement is the right thing to do, then consider only giving it to your own insurance company. If the other party�s insurance carrier asks for a recorded statement, have them contact your insurance company and �share� a copy of the tape. This way you only give one statement, and the people questioning you is your own insurance company (the one protecting your interests).

Here are the best 10 tips of what you should do before you give a recorded statement:

1. Make sure you have time to talk. Secure at least one hour of your time.

2. Make sure is time that work s for you and the adjuster�s. Do not do it before the adjuster�s lunch time. They will rush you to get out of the tape without giving you a chance to fully explain your point of view.

3. Have all the information available in front of you. For example, Names, streets, insurance polices, and the police report if possible.

4. Read your police before hand. This way you will know why the adjuster is asking what they are asking, and see if they are trying to find information to deny your claim.

5. Tell the adjuster that you are willing to give the statement only if they give you a transcription of what you said. Make sure you say this on the tape.

6. Remember that you can decline to answer any question for any reason at anytime. Just say it. I decline to answer for personal reasons.

7. Tell the adjuster that you will also record the conversation. This usually puts them in their best behavior.

8. Answer only what they asked you. If the question is what color is the light? then answer should be a color and nothing more.

9. If the question is subjective, decline to answer, tell them that you do not know, or simply just ask the adjuster what they are looking for specifically.

10. Be polite and respectful. If they are rude or anxious, the adjuster�s supervisor will probably side you. But if you are rude, your complaint will be dismissed.

via Recorded Statement — Do I have to give one after a car accident?.

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