Should I Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company?

After an accident, fire or natural disaster, it can be difficult to know whom to trust. Most of the people who contact you shortly after an accident – including bill collectors and insurance claims adjusters – will not have your best interests in mind. It is critical to know how to handle conversations with an insurance adjuster in a way that will protect your rights; otherwise, you may receive less in financial compensation than you deserve.

What Is a Recorded Statement?

A recorded statement is something an insurance claims adjuster may ask you to make during early conversations about an accident. The claims adjuster is the professional hired to handle your case – the person who will review the facts of your claim and recommend to the insurance company to extend or deny benefits to you. During a recorded statement, the adjuster will use a device to record your answers to a few questions over the phone.

You may hear from a claims adjuster as soon as the day of your accident. This is an intentional strategy; the adjuster wants to catch you before you learn anything else about the accident and your injuries. The adjuster may ask your permission to record the conversation or a specific statement from you. No law in Florida requires you to say yes to this request, and it is generally to your advantage to say no.

Why Is it Important Not to Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company?

Always say no when asked to give a recorded statement by an insurance company agent or claims adjuster. The claims adjuster can and will use what you say against you to dispute liability for your damages. The recorded statement is the insurer’s way of trapping you into saying the wrong thing, such as that you contributed to the property damage yourself or you suffered only minor losses.

Once the adjuster obtains a recorded statement from you, he or she can use the discrepancies between your version of events and investigative findings to paint you in a poor light as an unreliable witness. If you assumed you had no injuries after a car accident, for example, and said this in a recorded statement, it can come back to hurt you later if a doctor discovers an injury with delayed symptoms.

How to Say No to Giving a Recorded Statement

Never say yes to a recorded statement, even if the adjuster seems friendly or says he or she is on your side. Insurance adjusters receive a lot of training in how to get claimants to let their guards down. Politely state that you do not wish to give a recorded statement at this time and plan on talking to an attorney before settling. Explain that you will send in a written statement at a later date instead. A written statement gives you time to fully understand the elements of your claim before communicating with the insurance company on record.

What If You Already Gave a Statement?

If you already said yes and gave a recorded statement to an insurance claims adjuster, this could make it more difficult to obtain fair compensation for your injuries and losses. It will not, however, make it impossible. A lawyer can help you perform damage control and negotiate for a satisfactory settlement despite saying the wrong thing in a recorded statement. Hiring an attorney can help you understand what to say and what not to say during the insurance process.

The more you say to an adjuster, the more opportunities the company has to twist your words around and use them against you. Do your best to only answer the questions asked, avoid narrative-type answers, do not guess or speculate about the accident, and do not say yes to a recorded statement. Before going any further with your insurance claim, speak to an Tampa insurance claim attorney for assistance protecting your rights as a victim.