Question: After an automobile accident, should I provide a statement to the other driver’s insurance company?
If you are injured in an automobile accident, the adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company will call you and ask you to give a recorded statement.
The adjuster will try to get you to commit to a certain version of how the accident happened and the extent of your injuries. Adjusters know that many injuries do not become symptomatic for up to 14 days. They also know that many people who are injured in automobile accidents do not know exactly how the accident happened.
The adjuster will not try to help you make an accurate statement. They will not help you correct any mistakes you make.
Later, when you try to settle or go to trial on your claim, the adjuster and the insurance company lawyers will try to use your recorded statement to manipulate the facts to place you at fault for the collision or to limit your recovery to the injuries you mentioned in the statement. Consider this example:
You are rear ended by another driver and do not feel any immediate pain. The next morning you feel some stiffness in your back and decide that you will wait and see if the stiffness goes away before you see a doctor. Later that same day, the insurance adjuster from the other driver’s company calls and asks you for a recorded statement. As part of that statement she asks you if you were injured. You respond that you have had a little bit of back stiffness but have not yet seen a doctor. She asks if you have any other injuries and you say no because the only symptom you have had so far is back stiffness.
The next day you wake up with the same back stiffness, but you also feel some stiffness in your neck and some tingling in your arm or hand. After waiting for a few days to see if the stiffness and pain will resolve itself, you realize that you should probably see a doctor.
After six weeks of physical therapy, you still have neck pain and tingling. The doctor decides to do an MRI and discovers that you have a herniated disc in your neck that was caused by the motor vehicle accident. You have surgery to repair the disc and undergo painful rehabilitation.
Then, when the time comes to resolve your case in settlement negotiations or at trial, the insurance company will argue that your neck injury was not caused by the automobile accident because in your recorded statement taken the day after the accident you only mentioned back pain and said nothing about your neck. They will use your own statement against you to try and discredit you.
Insurance companies take recorded statements for their benefit, not yours. Do not give a recorded statement after an automobile accident without the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Portland Personal Injury Lawyer James F. O’Rourke has over 35 years experience representing clients who have been injured in automobile accidents. He knows how to talk to insurance adjusters and gets excellent results. If you are injured in an automobile accident, call James F. O’Rourke & Associates before providing a recorded statement to an insurance company.