Ask Kathryn: Should I give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster after an auto accident?

A fellow personal injury attorney posted this question on Facebook.  This is a great question.  The answer is something that everyone should know automatically since you never know when you are going to be in an auto accident. 

Here's my answer:

One thing about tv commercials for lawyers that I do like is that they have gotten out the message not to talk to an insurance adjuster without a lawyer.  Talk to a lawyer!  Most personal injury attorneys give a free consultation! 

The insurance company's objective in getting recorded statements is that they are trying to get you on the record as many times as they can so that later they can try to find inconsistencies in your story and call you a liar so they can deny your claim.  This is their plan. 

Think about this:  You are telling a child the story of Goldilocks & the Three Bears.  Someone asks if they can record you telling this story (recorded statement right after the accident).  Then nine months later they ask you to tell the story again and they record it again (deposition after suit is filed).  Then a year or so later they have you tell the same story again and they record it again (testimony during trial).  Then some nit-picker who's getting paid by the hour (insurance defense attorney or their staff) spends  hours and hours going though your stories and recordings with a fine toothed comb.  They find that the first time you tell the story you describe the cold porridge "as freezing cold" but the 2nd time you just say that it was "too cold"  and the third time you call it "chilly".  That nit-picker (defense attorney) is going to try to say to the jury that you are a liar because you described the porridge differently each time you told the story.  But the thing is that's human nature; we are not robots or computers.  We will naturally tell a story differently even when we are being truthful.  So thats a long way of explaining why attorneys recommend you don't give a recorded statement after an accident, we want you to tell the truth but we don't want the insurance companies to try to use the fact that you've told the same story several times on the record against you.

Bottom Line? Talk to a lawyer before giving any statements, even non-recorded ones.

For more information or a free consultation on your legal issue contact The Law Offices of Charles D. Scott PLLC, your injury law and family law attorneys, at 727-300-4878.

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