Recorded Statements (Personal Injury Cases)
_ In many, if not most cases, an insurance company claims representative (adjuster) will want to record your statement. While some attorneys advise their clients not to give such a statement, I don't see much reasoning behind it, especially if the events that lead to your injury are straightforward, and you have nothing to hide. My strong recommendation, however, is not to provide a statement to the insurance company without having an attorney or without at least first consulting an attorney about your case. What you say during your statement might be used to fight your claim later in ways that you might not suspect when your statement is take.
The insurance claims examiner might be calling you over and over to make it sound like taking your statement is very urgent and has to be done as soon as possible. However, there is no reason for you to rush to talk to them. Speaking with the insurance company representive sooner is not going to make your claim better, but saying the wrong things can hurt your case. The law provides for a long period of time for you to get the treatment you need and resolve your claim whether through litigation or out of court. You can certainly wait a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months to provide that statement, and this will have no negative on your case.
During the recorded statement, the adjuster will first ask you introductory questions confirm your name and address. Then, he will go over some very basic information about where you live, work, and possibly your familial status. Then, he will ask a number of detailed questions about the injury incident.
Here is an example of such questions:
- What date/time did the accident occur?
- What was the weather like?
- What were you wearing?
- Where were you looking at the time of the incident?
- Did you have anything to drink or did you take any medication within 24 hours of the incident?
- Was anyone else in the car with you at the time of the accident?
- Were you wearing a seat belt?
- Were you texting?
- How far were you in front of the stoplight before you actually saw it?
- What lane of traffic were you traveling right before the accident?
- Did you hear the tires screech before the other vehicle ran into yours?
Then, the adjuster will ask you a few questions about your injuries and treatment so far:
- Did you lose consciousness after the impact?
- What part of your body, if any, hit the interior of the car?
- When did you feel any kind of pain after the accident?
- Where did you feel the pain?
- When did you seek any kind of treatment for the first time?
- Where did you go after seeking that first treatment?
- Did you have any x-rays/MRI done?
- Where are you treating now?
- Are you better today than the day after the accident?
- How long are you planning to treat?
- Did you miss any time from work?
- Did anyone advise you that you might need a surgery?
- Are you planning to have a surgery?
- Have you ever injured the same part of the body before or after the subject injury incident?
Like at a deposition, it's perfectly fine to say "I don't know" or "I don't remember" in response to a question if you don't know or don't remember the answer. If you don't remember something exactly, you can estimate to the best of your ability. You also don't have to answer questions that are highly personal or completely irrelevant to the accident. If your attorney instructs you not to answer a question during your statement, then you should of course follow that instruction and remain silent, till the next question is asked. Remember, during your recorded statement you only need to answer the questions asked. You don't need to argue or prove your case. Therefore, if your answer is longer than 20-30 seconds, it's probably not very good answer.