Generally, crash victims in Louisiana are not required to give a recorded statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies know this, but they still ask for a recorded statement hoping you will say something they can use against you.
Below, we discuss the risks of giving a recorded statement to the insurance company and why it is best to consult with an attorney first.
If you were injured in a car crash and have legal questions, Galloway Jefcoat’s Lafeyette car accident attorneys are here to help. Our firm has been helping crash victims in Louisiana for decades. We have negotiated many settlements with insurance companies during that time. However, we are also prepared to take claims to court when insurers do not offer enough compensation.
Galloway Jefcoat. Free consultation. No upfront fees. (337) 984-8020
How Recorded Statements Can Hurt Car Crash Claims
Third-party insurance companies know you are not required to give them a recorded statement. However, many crash victims may not know this. Crash victims are often unsure of their rights or what they need to do to obtain compensation from the liable insurance company.
Insurance companies know how to exploit victims’ uncertainty about what to do after a crash. That is why they may ask for recorded statements, make lowball settlement offers and ask you for a lot of details about your injuries and the crash. Some people might refuse to give a recorded statement or accept a settlement offer early in the process. However, others who are still vulnerable from their injuries and the accident might agree to these kinds of things.
Downplaying Your Injury’s Severity
The problem with providing a recorded statement is that it can be used to limit the value of your claim. For example, you may downplay the severity of your injuries in your recorded statement. Later in the process, you may say your injuries are more serious because you have received treatment and that is what your doctors are telling you.
However, the insurance company can point to your recorded statement and say you are contradicting yourself. This hurts your credibility and could make it more likely the insurance company will try to deny or underpay your claim.
Insurers Trick You into Saying Things
You may think you can avoid saying things that hurt your claim when you are providing a recorded statement. However, insurance companies know how to trick you into saying things they can use against you.
You may not realize that simple statements like “I will be OK” or “The injury is not that bad,” can be used against you. Insurance companies will take the things you say literally and make broad assumptions about your claim based on these statements.
Saying You Are to Blame
Insurance adjusters know how to act like your friend to get you to let your guard down so you will say things that hurt your claim. If a crash victim feels like he or she is talking to a “friend” he or she may say things that sound like admissions of fault.
Maybe you could have done things differently before the crash. Maybe if you had acted differently, the crash could have been avoided. However, you could be wrong. You should not assume you are partially at fault and more importantly, you should not verbalize these assumptions. Avoid statements like “I should have been more careful,” or “I should have slowed down.”
If you are partially at fault, you can still recover compensation, but you do not want to be assigned more fault than you deserve. If you give the insurance company a reason to believe you are partially at fault, they may say you are 100 percent at fault, or assign most of the fault to you, even if it is not true.
Once the insurance company has a recording of you saying things that sound like admissions of fault, it can be harder to negotiate a settlement for the full value of your claim.
Recorded Statements are Often Not Necessary
Insurance companies like to tell victims they need a recorded statement to speed up the process. However, it is often completely unnecessary. The insurance company can get the information it needs from investigating the crash or from the police report.
Your attorney can also work with the insurance company to provide them the information they need to process your claim. However, your attorney will be focused on protecting the full value of your claim. The experienced lawyers at Galloway Jefcoat are committed to recovering full compensation and we know the tricks insurance companies employ to try to protect their interests.
Will I Need to Provide a Recorded Statement to My Insurance Company?
It may depend on the language of your policy. However, you may not need to deal with your own insurance company because your damages may be covered by the other driver’s insurance policy. It is only necessary to deal with your own insurance company if you need to file a first-party claim. For instance, if you must file a claim against your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
That said, you should never provide a recorded statement without help from an attorney. Your lawyer can help you to protect the value of your claim and avoid saying things that hurt your case. For example, your lawyer can explain some best practices such as:
- Not providing information they did not ask for
- Keeping your answers brief and to the point
- Not admitting fault for the crash
- Ask for clarification if you are unsure of what the insurance company is asking you
- If you do not know the answer to a question, do not guess, simply say that you do not know
- Avoid providing too many details about your injuries (insurers can get this information from your medical records)
- Provide consistent answers, as insurers like to ask the same question multiple different ways
Give Us a Call After a Car Crash
If you needed medical treatment after a car crash, you should strongly consider speaking to an attorney about seeking compensation for your damages.
Your injuries could affect you for quite a while and you may be unable to work for days or weeks. Insurance companies know how to take advantage of injured victims. You need an experienced attorney to negotiate with the insurance company. If you go it alone, it may be much harder to recover full compensation.
Free consultation. No upfront fees. Call (337) 984-8020.