How Do I Write a Recorded Statement After a Car Accident?
The first step you should always take when writing or giving a recorded statement after a car accident is to consult a lawyer. While some may express that recorded statements are helpful as they can help expedite a claim settlement and others believe statements are harmful because of the risk of hurting the claim, almost every single car accident lawyer will agree that its imperative that victims consult a lawyer before giving or writing a statement.
What is a recorded statement?
A recorded statement, whether written or audio recorded, is an official recount of the events of the car accident. Insurance adjusters gather recorded statements to better understand what happened in the accident. The statements are usually tape-recorded question and answer sessions led by the adjuster. They can also be pre-written statements provided by the claimant and their lawyer.
Recorded statements can be dangerous
Many attorneys advise against recorded statements because it’s too easy for their client to accidentally say something that could weaken the case.
Unfortunately, insurance adjusters work for the insurance company and are therefore looking for any reason to not have to pay out money in claims. That’s why adjusters are adept at getting victims to say things that could lessen or even remove the at-fault person’s liability and reduce the amount the victim is owed in compensation.
As an example, if the adjuster asks, “How are you?” and you respond, “I’m fine,” the adjuster could argue that you made an “admission against interest” and therefore don’t need to be paid as much even though you were just trying to be polite.
Don’t let an adjuster bully you into giving a statement without consulting a lawyer. If your lawyer says giving a statement is OK, be sure the lawyer is present when you give the statement, or the lawyer goes over your written statement before you submit it.
How does a recorded statement work?
After you are injured in a car accident and file a claim, the insurance adjuster from the defendant’s insurance company will reach out to you in order to provide a statement. Keep in mind that everything you say to an adjuster can be used against you even before you agree to make a recorded statement.
If you agree to a statement, hopefully at the advice of a car accident lawyer, the adjuster will have you describe what happened in full detail to hear your side of the story. Then, he will ask lots and lots of questions to try and poke holes in your side of events.
Stick to the facts
The more you stick to the facts, the less the adjuster will be able to weaken your claim. Never complain, discuss emotion, go on a rant, or say anything that might possibly be construed as something that could lessen the defendant’s liability.
Avoid mentioning your personal life, as discussing personal problems might allow the adjuster to argue you were distracted or had a clouded judgment that impacted the accident. Personal details might also clue the adjuster to the fact that you might be willing to accept a quick or lowball settlement because you need the money.
Just stick to the facts.
If you and your lawyer do decide to give a statement you should take some time to prepare an outline of the facts. There are no takebacks in recorded statements, once you say it it’s out there forever. That’s why it’s vital to be as prepared and organized as possible.
Create an outline with the details of the events leading up the accident, the actual accident, and the details of the effect the accident has had on your life. For example, a detail-driven outline could look like this:
- I left the house at 11:45 AM
- I was driving west on Hollywood Boulevard.
- Your insured was driving east on Hollywood Boulevard.
- As I approached the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine, your insured made a left turn in front of me and ferociously collided into my car
Ellis Injury Law can help
Ellis Injury Law has the expertise and tenacity necessary to advocate for you in your car accident lawsuit. We can advise you on the best course of action regarding recorded statements and any other aspect of your case.
Contact Ellis today to schedule a free initial consultation.