Car accidents not only cause significant injury and death, but they are impose a great financial load on the U.S. economy. According to the National Safety Council, 38,300 people were killed in vehicle crashes in 2015, and 4.4 million were treated for injuries. Anybody who was injured in a motor vehicle accident can expect an adjuster from the opposing insurance company to contact them to get some “basic information,” and to see how that person is feeling. The truth is that the adjuster probably already has nearly all of the information that he needs to defend the liability aspect of the case. The real purpose of the statement is often to record the claimant saying things that could damage her case in the future.
If you have retained counsel
That adjuster knows that it’s unethical to talk to an injured person after that person has retained legal representation. The claimant need only advise the adjuster of that she is represented, and provide the attorney’s contact information. From that point forward, the insurance company will only be in touch with the victim’s law firm.
If you have not retained counsel
A person who was injured in any kind of an accident should never give the opposing insurer a statement of any kind. Adjusters are trained in taking statements, and nearly all claimants aren’t trained in giving them. The adjuster will be reading from a script, and the questions in that script are sometimes designed to confuse claimants. Insurers sometimes ask for statements to use them against claimants in the future. Two different answers might be given to the same question five minutes apart, especially if the injured person is still in shock or taking pain medication for the injury
People give up their rights
Once a claimant gives a statement, he will not be able to rescind it. Accident victims have the right not to give a statement to the insurance company for the at-fault driver, but when a statement is given, that right is forfeited. The contents of that statement can be used against the claimant in front of jurors and a judge.
The law doesn’t require you to give a statement
There is no law that requires a person who was injured in an accident to give a statement to an opposing insurer. Don’t believe an adjuster who tells you the opposite. If a person was seriously injured she might not even be in any condition to give a statement.
The adjuster is protecting the insurance company’s interests
Insurance companies want to collect premiums and then pay out as little as possible, or nothing at all, when a claim is made. It’s looking out for its own interests. Adjusters are well aware of the fact that most people who are injured in accidents don’t retain a skilled personal injury lawyer Coeur d’Alene ID trusts right away. That’s why the request for a statement is often made early in the claim process.
Giving a statement to your own insurance company
An insurance policy is a contract, and that contract requires an insured person to cooperate with their own insurance company. Provide your insurance company with any information that it needs. If you are represented by an attorney, you may wish to consult with him or her before giving your statement.
What if we both have the same insurer?
When the claimant and the person who caused the accident are both insured by the same insurance company, two different adjusters are assigned to the case. If an injured person is caught in this scenario, it is best to consult with an attorney before proceeding further. You could easily give a statement to the at-fault driver’s adjuster by accident.
It is usually wise for a person who was hurt in an accident to seek legal counsel before talking to any insurance companies. Protecting an injured claimant’s rights is critical in any accident cas.