When you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s likely that you’ll be asked to make a statement regarding what happened. If it’s the other driver’s insurance company asking you to make that statement, they will also likely request that you consent to them recording it.
This is an area where many drivers make the wrong decision and shoot themselves in the foot regarding their claim. Here’s what you need to know about your rights when it comes to giving a statement after a car accident.
Do You Need to Give a Statement?
Let’s first look at the legality of the situation. There’s no law requiring you to give a statement, recorded or unrecorded, to anyone after your car accident, and certainly not to an insurance company.
There’s no recourse for the other driver’s insurance company if you don’t give them a statement. Your insurance company, however, could have it included in your policy that you need to provide a statement for your coverage to be valid, which means that refusing to give a statement could affect your claim.
Now, since your insurance company is on your side, it’s unlikely that they’ll try to force you into anything. They just want to get as much information about what happened as possible. Your insurance will ask you about the accident and what you remember of it, but they usually won’t require that you give a statement on record.
Is There Any Benefit to Providing a Recorded Statement?
In the unlikely event that your own insurance company is asking you to provide a recorded statement, you may need to in order to comply with your policy. You should, however, ask what they plan to do with the statement and who they will share it with. But again, it’s very rare for insurance companies to ask this of their own drivers in the first place.
It’s far more likely that the other driver’s insurance will want a recorded statement from you. This happens with almost every car accident. And if it happens to you, the smartest decision you can make is to decline. Never give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company, because it provides zero benefit to you.
The Issues with Providing a Recorded Statement
When you give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company, it’s a classic no-win situation. Just like your insurance company is on your side, the other driver’s insurance company is on theirs. There’s simply no reason to provide potential evidence to an insurance company that is trying to either find you at fault or minimize the amount it needs to pay you in damages.
The best-case scenario after you give a recorded statement is that you don’t say anything that the other insurance company can use against you. If that’s the case, they just won’t use it. The statement won’t benefit you in any way, which means it’s essentially a waste of your time.
The more likely scenario is that the insurance company finds something you said that it can use against you to weaken your claim. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the other driver was clearly at fault, and you have nothing to worry about. Insurance adjusters are good at asking the right questions and leading you into saying things that can make you appear at least partially negligent. Remember that they do this all the time. You don’t, and this puts you at a disadvantage.
If you end up going to court for your claim, the other driver’s lawyer could use your recorded statement when cross examining you. Many people don’t realize how easy it is to contradict something you said months ago, but if you do this, it makes you look untrustworthy.
The bottom line is there’s no reason to ever give another driver’s insurance company a recorded statement or to say anything to them. All your communications should go through your own insurance company, and it’s also a good idea to get a Los Angeles Car Accident lawyer to help you avoid situations like this where you can unknowingly weaken your claim.