Q: My wife had a car wreck in March. The guy who caused the wreck’s insurance company wants to record her over the phone telling them about what happened. Should she do it?
A: The short answer is NO. While you are obligated to cooperate with your own insurance company and give your own insurance company a statement, this does NOT require you to give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. In fact, you should never give a recorded statement until you have consulted with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Insurance companies’ claims adjusters are professional negotiators with extensive experience. They are well trained to ask questions in a manner designed to hurt your claim. Insurance adjusters are trained to save money for the insurance companies. If they can do that by making fault questionable or by establishing that your medical claims are unfounded or unrelated, they may avoid having to pay for the full extent of your injuries.
Usually the insurance adjuster taking the statement is not the insurance adjuster who handles the property damage and the adjuster that handles the property damage claim is not the one that handles the personal injury claim. The one who wants you to talk can be charming. The one who wants to pay you as little as possible won’t be.
I also don’t believe that these questions really can be answered accurately after an accident. Yet we all know that any inaccuracy will be used by the insurance company to make it appear as if you were lying. The problem is that the impressions left in memory after a sudden accident aren’t accurate. There is no substitute for going to the scene with an attorney and foot looking at skid marks, scuff marks and debris left on the pavement as well as having a look at the distances involved. Only after you know the facts should you attempt to state the facts.
Buckle up and drive safely.
McCutcheon & Hamner, P.C.
2210 Helton Drive
Florence, Alabama 35630