Recorded StatementsRecorded Statements – Kill Your Case Before It Even Starts!

Giving a recorded statement to the other person’s insurance company can kill your case before it even starts. After a car accident, you will receive a phone call from other insurance company requesting a recorded statement. Do you have to give a recorded statement? Is there a law that requires that you give a recorded statement? Is there a rule? Is there a code? Is there a statute? Is there anything? Here is the answer: NO! There is no law, there is no rule, there is no code, there is no statute, there is nothing that requires you to open your mouth and kill your case before it even starts. In fact, California is a “two-party consent” state. This means that you have to give consent to be recorded! Otherwise, the party recording you without your consent is subject to criminal prosecution (Cal. Penal Code §632) or civil suits (Cal. Penal Code §637.2). The insurance adjuster will ask you something like “Do I have your permission to record this interview or statement?” Simply be nice and politely say, “No thank you”. That’s it.

In almost all cases, there are no benefits to giving a recorded statement to other person’s insurance company. At best, a recorded statement does nothing to help your case. At worst, a recorded statement can kill your case before it even starts!

Recorded statements are fraught with hidden traps for the unsuspecting injured victim.  There are many things that can go wrong. The other person’s insurance company representative, commonly known as an adjuster, will call you and be nice to you. That’s just common professional courtesy. Nothing wrong with that. The adjuster will ask for a statement. Again, be polite in return and just say, “No”. For those that still think there are no problems for giving a recorded statement, let’s go over some common traps. Just keep in mind that the insurance company is looking for any way to deny your claim partially, completely, or diminish the value of your case. After all, they don’t work for you, they work for their shareholders.

Questions About Liability– these questions are often asked to determine who is at-fault for the accident. Adjuster can ask questions about lane of travel, direction of travel, intersections, speed, duration in a particular lane, whether or not you were on the phone, distracted, in a hurry, talking to passengers, etc… You don’t think and slip up and say that your speed was faster than it actually was, which is more than the speed limit. Ok, now you can be found totally or partially at-fault for the accident because you were speeding. You say that you were using your phone at the time of the accident. That gets interpreted as you were actually talking on the phone, which is prohibited by law. Great, now you’re totally at-fault. Bye-bye case! You don’t get to clarify that you were using your phone to play Pandora. You weren’t actually talking on the phone. You weren’t even touching it! Doesn’t matter, you’re still killing your case!

Questions About Injuries – You’re asked if you were in pain at the scene of the accident. You say no. But you didn’t get to clarify. You said no, you were not in pain, but you felt soreness all over your body. You did start to feel pain when you were going home or when you got home. Doesn’t matter, you’re still killing your case because they can use that against you later when you try to get medical treatment. You just didn’t think. But that’s too bad! What if the adjuster asked you about having any previous injuries? What do you say then? You tell them, yeah, I had back pain before. So, they use that against you to claim oh, you had back pain before, so it can’t because of this accident that you have back pain. Again, you’re killing your case! Or they use it to argue, well not all your back pain is a result of this accident. Again, you’re killing your case!

There is an exception to when you might have to give a recorded statement and that is when your own insurance company needs it to determine things like coverage or liability. In most insurance policies, there is a cooperation requirement. Even if you are required to do so, having a personal injury lawyer represent you during a recorded statement is critical to the success of your case. A personal injury attorney can decide what questions are appropriate for you to answer and what is not. Call us first before giving a recorded statement. Don’t kill your case before it even started! We have the experience you need to help you win your case. Car accidents occur all the time in Modesto, Stockton, Sacramento, Merced, Fresno, Oakland, and San Jose. We can help injured victims. If you’ve been injured in a traffic jam, call R. Sam. Nothing recovered, nothing owed.

Nothing Recoverd, Nothing Owed