Personal injury Library

Do I Need an Attorney for a Recorded Statement?

Recorded statements are a tactic used by insurance carriers to hurt your car accident case. Don't fall for it:

Simply put, recorded statements are a trick devised by insurance companies to harm your case. There is no reason, unless you want to secure a strategic advantage for the insurance carrier, that you should be inclined to engage in a recorded statement. These statements aren't in place to help your claim.

A recorded statement in the context of car accident law is a request by the insurance company for a statement by you to give your account of what happened. These used to be standard practice of all insurance companies but have become less common, not because the insurance companies have quit trying to get them, but because people are getting smarter and not agreeing to give them.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What should I do if I'm asked to make a recorded statement for my car accident claim?
  • Am I required to make a recorded statement with the insurance carrier?
  • Why would I need a lawyer before I make a recorded statement?

Am I required to give a recorded statement after my car accident?

No. You are not legally required to give a recorded statement. Further, if you do, you're waiving all of the legal protections courts provide. This means that you are volunteering to play by the insurance company's own rules rather than filing suit and applying the law.

The reason most people agree to do so without a lawyer is because they believe it's the most efficient way of resolving the claim. In part, this is true. If you give a recorded statement and if the adjuster can't find something to take out of context to be used against you, then, sure, a recorded statement may expedite the process. Again though, the whole reason the recorded statement exists is to try and get you to slip up.

Insurance companies are always one step ahead of accident victims who are not represented, so they see the recorded statement as an opportunity to get you to say something that will hurt your case in the future. Again, you may very well want to attempt to settle your case out of court and doing so requires that you play by some of the insurance company's rules. Just understand that a recorded statement exists for the sole purpose of getting you to say something that can be taken out of context. They don't need a recorded statement for the purpose of resolving your case out of court. They only want it so that if you do file suit, they will have some ammunition to use against you later.

Here's an example: Chris is driving down Highway 75 in Dallas when traffic comes to a slow crawl and he must reduce his speed accordingly. The driver behind him doesn't get the memo and plows into the back of Chris's car. The conversation between Chris and the adjuster is as follows:

  • Chris: "I slowed down for traffic and the next thing I know, you're insured driver plowed into the back of my car."
  • Adjuster: "I'm really sorry to hear about that. Just a few questions. What lane were you in when the accident happened?"
  • Chris: "I was in the center lane."
  • Adjuster: "Ok. So, when you got on the highway, did the ramp deposit you in the center lane? Or did it deposit you into the far right lane?"
  • Chris: "The right lane, of course."
  • Adjuster: "Ok. So at some point you changed from the right lane to the center lane. Correct?"
  • Chris: "Yes. That's right."
  • Adjuster: "How soon before the collision did you make that lane change?"
  • Chris: "I don't know. Maybe a few seconds."

While all of that sounds perfectly banal, what Chris doesn't realize is that he just gave the insurance adjuster a perfect excuse for denying his claim. You see, the driver who hit Chris isn't at fault is Chris jumped in front of him right as traffic was slowing down. Chris's comment about "a few seconds" opens up the possibility that the adjuster can argue that Chris cut the other driver off.

As you can imagine, there are numerous ways that a driver's innocent phrasing can be used against them. you may be wondering what that has to do with recording anything. Simply put, by telling you that your statement is being recorded, it adds an extra degree of pressure. And most people under that kind of stress, speak differently than they would otherwise. In other words, the insurance carriers created this formality that sounds very official, and the result is that it throws you off your game.

Why do I need an attorney to make a recorded statement?

Many accident victims mistakenly believe that you only need an attorney when everything goes wrong. On the contrary, a car accident attorney keeps your case from going wrong. Having an attorney represent you does not mean you have to file suit. It simply means that you have a greater chance of settling out of court because your attorney will be able to illustrate to the defendants what will happen if they make you go to court.

While it is not required that you have an attorney present when making such statements, it is highly recommended. Insurance companies will often use these statements against you and try to get you to say something implicating you as the wrongful party or more at fault than what you actually are.

Insurance agents are well trained and try everything they can do to not pay out unless they absolutely have to. Sometimes, the smallest misinterpretation of a question can have detrimental effects on the outcome of your case. The presence of an attorney can not only deter the insurance companies from trying to pull these types of stunts, but also inform you of possible faults to giving such a statement as well as small nuances in any questions that may be used as a trick to get you to implicate yourself. Your attorney may even tell you not to give such a statement at all.

Give Grossman Law Offices a call.

The car accident attorneys of Grossman Law Offices know personal injury law. With over twenty five years of experience in personal injury law, we have successfully gone head to head with virtually every major insurance company, and we know how to help you maximize your recovery. Contact Grossman Law Offices today at (855) 326-0000 to schedule your free consultation and learn more about the potential of your case.

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