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You find yourself in an accident, dealing with injuries, and then the insurance adjuster calls pressuring you to give a recorded recounting of the incident. It seems harmless enough, just telling your side of the story, right?

But should you comply? Let’s explore the legal implications and strategic considerations.

Well, if you do, the recorded statement becomes a tool used to try to pick apart your words and minimize your claim. Next thing you know, you’ve wasted time and potentially damaged your case, all to cater to the insurance company’s request that benefited them far more than you.

Advise When Dealing with Insurers

When dealing with a personal injury claim against an insurance company, some key principles can guide you:

  1. Understand the inherent conflict of interest. The insurance company’s goal is to pay you as little as possible on your claim. While they may appear reasonable, never forget their economic motivations are diametrically opposed to yours.
  2. You have no legal obligation. There is no statute, law or regulation that requires you to give a recorded statement to the adverse insurance company. It is a voluntary act on your part. Therefore, refusing recorded statements to insurers is not illegal.
  3. The risks outweigh the benefits. By giving a statement, you are generating potential ammunition the insurer can use against your interests later. The benefits of giving the statement, however, are negligible for your case. Therefore, refusing recorded statements to insurers is often advisable.
  4. If it seems unfair, it likely is. Any suggestion that refusing is “admission of dishonesty” or “being uncooperative” should be seen as what it is – insurer manipulation. You are under no duty to assist the insurer’s efforts to minimize your claim’s value.
  5. An insurer’s “routine requests” deserve scrutiny. Insurers treat these requests as standard practice because it benefits them, not you. Anything “routine” for an insurer should put you on guard.
  6. Credibility flows from your actions at the scene. How you acted immediately after the accident, as evidenced through objective third-party records like police reports, witness statements, medical facility records, etc. will be more compelling evidence of your credibility than any statement given to the insurer later.

Keeping these principles in mind, let’s dive into some key reasons why you may want to avoid giving that recorded statement.

Refusing Recorded Statements To Insurers: The Risks of a Recorded Statement

There are numerous potential pitfalls to offering a recorded statement about your accident and injuries to an opposing insurance company:

It’s a tool to minimize your claim

The entire purpose behind an insurer’s request for a recorded statement is to try to box you into admissions, inconsistencies, or responses that can be used to challenge or diminish your injury claims later. It’s not truly about “getting your side of the story” from an objective perspective.

Word traps are everywhere

Even phrasing as simple as describing vehicle speeds, distances, or injury descriptions can be twisted into inconsistencies used against you. Anytime you stray even slightly from your original wording, it will be treated with scrutiny as a conflict in your account.

Capturing the permanence of your words

What you say in that recorded statement becomes a permanent record, forever etched in stone. As your injuries develop in severity over time or new symptoms appear, the insurer will try to point to conflicts between your original statement and your later allegations.

Memory isn’t perfect

In the days following an accident, memories can be hazy or incomplete. Getting locked into statements commits you to a specific account that may have missing details or inconsistencies due to the effects of the accident itself on your recollection.

Admitting issues can undermine your case

You may make statements that excuse the other party’s conduct, admit some degree of fault on your part, inaccurately describe your injuries, or otherwise raise issues that weaken aspects of your claim – perhaps without even realizing it in the moment.

Inflexibility for your claim’s development

Your claim’s full trajectory isn’t established at the outset. New facts, witnesses, and evidence can emerge. A recorded statement pigeon-holes you into a rigid account while a claim’s path is inherently an evolving process.

In essence, the recorded statement creates far more potential pitfalls for your claim than it could ever hold any benefit for you. No insurer demands these statements out of an interest in “hearing your side.” It is a tool wielded for their economic interests over yours.

Refusing Recorded Statements to Insurers: The Minimal Upside of Giving a Statement

What then are the proposed benefits that could motivate a personal injury victim to not take the option of opting out of recorded statements in insurance claims? Unfortunately, the list is short:

  1. Being “cooperative” for its own sake
  • While politeness is virtuous, there is no legal or ethical obligation to assist an insurer in devaluing your own claim against them.
  1. Telling “your side of the story”
  • Your side is already preserved in official records and documentation – the statement holds no persuasive weight over objective evidence.
  1. Appearing credible and honest
  • Credibility flows from your actions at the time, not an insurer’s leading interrogation later. Refusing a statement cannot be used as “evidence” of dishonesty.
  1. Facilitating the claim’s processing
  • An insurer’s convenience should not supersede protecting your legal claim. Their “process” inherently conflicts with properly valuing your claim.

In truth, any suggested upside by an insurance company is likely a ploy to extract a recorded statement that biases the claim in their favor against your interests as the injury victim. And so it is always recommended that you avoid giving an insurer ammunition and that you exercise your rights regarding recorded statements by declining to give such a statement.

Politely Refusing the Recorded Statement

If directly requested by an insurance adjuster to provide a recorded statement about the circumstances of your accident and injury:

  1. Remain polite yet firm in declining. There’s no need for hostility, but neither should you feel obligated to comply with the request.
  2. You can simply state: “Thank you for your request, but I do not feel it’s in my best interests to provide a recorded statement at this time. I’d be happy to provide you with any documentation or information in writing to facilitate your evaluation of my claim.”
  3. Do not be baited by insurer pushback. Many adjusters are trained to provoke and accuse to pressure you into giving a statement. Stand your ground politely.
  4. You can offer to respond to any questions in writing. This allows you to carefully contemplate each inquiry away from any leading questions or interview tactics.
  5. Suggest using official documents instead. Mention that the police report, photos, witness statements and medical records can provide a full account of the incident.
  6. You needn’t justify refusing endlessly. A basic, polite refusal should suffice. You are under no obligation to explain yourself any further.

The insurance company may persist, claiming the request is “routine,” “necessary,” or even inappropriately insinuating nefarious motives behind your refusal. There isn’t a negative impact of refusing insurance company recordings. And so, you should remain respectful yet steadfast and without any fear – protecting your claim’s value is of utmost importance.

Refusing Recorded Statements to Insurers: Choose the Right Path from the Start

When dealing with a personal injury claim, the path you take in those initial stages can have a tremendous impact down the line.

By politely yet firmly refusing to give a recorded statement, you deny the insurance company a potential tool to wield against your interests. You maintain control, credibility, and preserve your ability to ensure your claim’s evidence and allegations develop fully without being beholden to an adverse party’s leading interrogation.

The prudent path is to stand firm in protecting your claim from the outset. Provide the insurer with any documentation or information reasonably requested in writing. But never foolishly surrender the unnecessary and risky recorded statement that could compromise your rights as an injury victim.

Contact Us

Before providing a recorded statement to an insurance company, consult with our legal team at Husain Law + Associates — Houston Accident & Injury Lawyers, P.C. We will ensure your rights are protected, and that you get all the compensation you deserve. Call us at (713) 804-8149 to speak with an attorney.

 

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