If you’ve recently been in a car accident, you can expect the other party’s insurance adjuster to contact you soon to provide them with a recorded statement. For your own protection, your answer to this question should always be no.
Here’s what you need to understand regarding the other party’s insurance adjuster – he has one job, and it’s not to make sure that everyone gets compensated appropriately according to what actually happened. His job is to minimize the amount of money that his insurance company pays on your claim and his client’s claim, which means the best result for him is pinning the liability for the accident on you. If he can’t do that, he’ll attempt to at least create enough doubt that it was his own driver’s fault.
Giving a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster puts you in a no-win situation. If there’s nothing that the insurance adjuster can use against you, then he simply won’t use your statement at all. In the more likely scenario that the adjuster finds something to use against you, you’ve just weakened your own claim.
Many people fall into the trap of thinking that they’ve “got nothing to hide” or that they’re “just going to tell the truth.” This line of thinking isn’t going to help you. The insurance adjuster will be looking for ways to strengthen his own case, and will ask questions that are designed to trick you into making a response that hurts your case. When every word you’re saying is being recorded, it’s often a simple task to find something that can be used against you.
Once an insurance adjuster has your recorded statement, they can compete it to other statements you’ve made regarding the accident to look for any contradictions or inconsistent information. Inconsistencies are common when retelling what happened in an accident. You may tell a police officer who arrives at the scene your version of events when you’re still full of adrenaline from what happened, but then remember other details later when you’re thinking more clearly. While it’s completely normal for your story of what happened to vary a bit, especially when you’re telling the story multiple times that are days or weeks apart, an insurance adjuster can use any inconsistencies to claim that you’re not being honest.
In the event that you sue the other driver and the case goes to court, the defense attorney can use your recorded statement while cross examining you. If you don’t remember exactly what you told the insurance adjuster during that statement from months ago, you could end up contradicting yourself, at which point you’ve become an unreliable witness.
If it’s your own insurance company asking you to provide a recorded statement, you likely need to provide a statement to comply with your insurance policy. Ask your insurance adjuster if this is the case, and if so, have them point out where it says this in your policy. It’s smart to ask your insurance company to provide you with reassurance in writing that they won’t share your recorded statement with the other driver’s insurance. They should have no problem agreeing to this, since there’s no way that sharing your statement with the other side could help your case.
When asked to give a recorded statement by the other driver’s insurance adjuster, don’t make the assumption that it can’t hurt you. Truthful statements have come back to bite drivers many times. Instead, consider – can it help you to provide a statement? It can’t, because the person taking the statement is only looking for ways to weaken your claim, not strengthen it.