My name is John Burns and I’m a car accident and personal injury attorney. My office is located in South Orange County where the cities of Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel and San Juan Capistrano all come together.
Here is the answer to your question.
Allowing the at-fault driver’s insurance company to take a recorded statement from you is a big mistake. Sometimes the only goal of such an insurance adjuster is to get you to say on tape that you were not injured in the collision.
The problem is that the word, “injured,” may mean different things to different people. You may think the word, “injured,” refers to fractures and hospitalization-not the headaches and sore muscles you are experiencing. You may inadvertently say you not injured, when in fact you are.
If you make that type of statement on tape, you will badly damage your chances of getting payment for your medical bills or pain and suffering from the collision. The adjuster has recorded you saying that you were not injured. You have just ruined your personal injury case.
Case Study- Were You Injured?” It Seemed Like Such a Simple Question…
Here are the events that happened in this particlar case
- Alfred was referred to me after he was rear-ended in a motor vehicle accident. By the time he contacted my office, though, he had already provided a recorded statement to the insurance company for the at-fault driver. I knew we could be facing some challenges.
- When I called the insurance adjuster, she told me that Alfred stated, on record, that he was not hurt in the accident. Of course, I called Alfred to ask him what exactly was going on. He told me that the insurance adjuster called him the day after the collision. At that point, his neck and back weren’t hurting that bad. It wasn’t until the second night that he started to feel worse.
- Alfred had gone to see his physician and discovered that he had suffered neck and low back sprain/strain. His doctor had prescribed a muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory prescription medication
- I called the insurance adjuster back to let her know what had happened. You know what she said? She told me that she didn’t care and that if we sued, the recording would be played at trial. She said that the recording would show that “Alfred is a liar, cheat, and fraud.” I asked that she send me a copy of the tape recording.
- It turned out that something had been wrong with the insurance adjuster’s tape recorder and the tape was blank. That was a huge relief. Although Alfred had a reasonable explanation for his statement, the recording could have affected the amount the jury awarded him. I was able to settle the case for a reasonable amount for Alfred.
- There is no question that Alfred would have been much better off if he had refused to give a recorded statement (or any statement for that matter). It was just too early to know the full extent of his injuries.
- Moral of the Story: You won’t be able to say with confidence that you are not injured without a medical evaluation, so don’t say you are “fine”, until you know you are.
Giving Recorded Statement to Other Insurance Company is a Bad IdeaThe insurance adjuster will not confine the recording to a statement about your injuries. You can expect to be questioned about the facts of the collision in an attempt by the adjuster to place all or part of the fault of the accident on you. When the adjuster calls, he or she will probably have a copy of the Traffic Collision Report and will grill you about the facts of the accident. You may say something by mistake, which will really hurt your case.
No Law Or Rule That Requires You Give Recorded Statement to Other Ins. Co.
There is absolutely no requirement for you to give a recorded statement to the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Some insurance company adjusters are experts at trying to make you fearful that should you decline to give them a recorded statement, they will not pay your claim. That is simply not the case.
Other Insurance Company Adjuster May Not Record Without Your Agreeing to It.
In California, the adjuster may not record your conversation without your consent. In California, it is illegal to record a telephone conversation without the permission of the other person. If you have spoken by phone with the adjuster, you will not have been recorded unless you have given them permission to do so.
You Must Give a Recorded Statement to Your Own Insurance Company
If you are asked by your own insurance company to give a recorded statement, however, you can go ahead. Your own insurance company has an obligation to not turn over your recorded statement to the adverse insurance company. If they do so, they would be exposing themselves to an insurance bad faith lawsuit.
Just Say No
Based on the above, my recommendation is simple. When asked for a recorded statement, just say “no”. When the adverse adjuster tells you that he or she can’t settle your claim without such a statement just say “no” again. Tell the adjuster to talk to your attorney about it. If you don’t have a case big enough for an attorney and wish to work with the adjuster yourself, go ahead and do so. Just don’t agree to the recorded statement as part of it.
You don’t have to deal with the insurance adjuster of the person who caused the accident.
If you have been injured in an accident. I am available to talk with you at no charge. My phone number is (949) 496-7000, and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day.