Post-Injury Statements to Insurance Companies
Being injured is one of the easiest ways to become the most popular kid in class. Whether a car accident, slip and fall, animal injury, or otherwise, if you’ve been injured get ready for phone calls. Various people who you have never met will call you on behalf of any number of insurance companies. They will want to know how the injury happened, who witnessed it, whether you were hurt and other information. Everyone is looking out for their interests. Who is looking out for yours?
The information requested by insurance adjusters helps in their investigation of your claim. This does not mean it helps you. Remember, insurance companies are for-profit companies. They make money by collecting premiums. Paying claims cuts into profits so they want to limit that exposure.
Want to know what they found out? Too bad! While there is a Rule that requires the at-fault carrier to produce your statement if a lawsuit is filed, there is no such requirement before then. Since insurance companies do not like sharing this information, it often becomes a fight to obtain them.
Types of Statements
There are generally three types of statements people are asked to give – recorded, unrecorded and statements under oath. As the names suggest, one of these statements is recorded by the insurance company while another one is not – but it is meticulously noted. The third is completed outside of court but the injury victim takes an oath to swear to tell the truth nonetheless.
While it may appear that there is nothing inherently wrong with injury victims giving statements, you should remember that the adjusters taking them are paid professionals – the injury victims are not. Injury victims are often nervous when giving these statements and try to abbreviate the information. It is not because they are lying, but rather because it is a high-pressure situation. Most people have never experienced this before. In addition, insurance companies do not provide any documents (such as medical records) which may help refresh their recollections if they misspeak or forget some information. As a result, it is not uncommon for victims to miss a pain complaint they have when asked about their injuries. In fact, this is so common the State of Florida has an administrative code prohibiting taking statements of injury victims when they would still be expected to be in mental or emotional distress due to traumatic injury.
Injury victims often do not take these statements seriously. This is a mistake. These statements are often used by adjusters to justify later actions. Another mistake injury victims make – talking with any insurance company. There are insurance companies you should speak with. There are also insurance companies you should not. Providing a statement to the wrong insurance company can hurt you case and rarely helps.
However, the biggest mistake injury victims make is not first consulting an attorney and having their attorney present for the statements. This allows the insurance company to take advantage of the injury victim. It also allows an insurance company to utilize inaccurate and/or incomplete statements, or statements taken out of context. By failing to speak with an attorney, injury victims expose themselves to providing unnecessary statements and incomplete information.
Example: Simple rear end car crash. Our injury victim is injured because someone operated their vehicle negligently. There are two different insurance companies involved. First, the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Second, the insurance company for the injury victim. Both companies ask for recorded statements of the injury victim. Who should the injury victim talk to? The answer is, usually, only the injury victim’s insurance company. By talking to the at-fault insurance company, the injury victim has unnecessarily provided them with information that can be weaponized against the injury victim.
- Hire an attorney. This point cannot be emphasized enough. Your attorney will look out for your interests.
- Find out which insurance company is asking for your statement. There is no legal obligation to speak to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- Schedule the conversation for a later date. This will allow you time to retain an attorney or to gather your thoughts.
- Be Concise. This is harder than it sounds. Do not give more information than is necessary to respond.
- If asked about your injuries, be honest but understand you are not a doctor and injuries can worsen over time. As such, you may not know the full extent of your injuries for some time.
- Hire an attorney.
Statements are serious matters. Injury victims should treat them as such.
If you have been injured, you need someone who will fight for you and look out for your interests – not the insurance companies. Not speaking with a lawyer may be more damaging to your case than you realize.
GET YOUR FREE INJURY CASE REVIEW TODAY
If you have been injured, contact Presser Law for a free case review with an attorney to determine your legal rights. For over 10 years I have represented injury victims throughout Central Florida in their times of need and I would be honored to help you as well.
For more information or to speak with a lawyer about your legal rights following an injury, call 407.216.2000, email me at Justin@FindYourJustice.com.
Justin H. Presser is a car accident, personal injury and wrongful death attorney. Presser Law, P.A. is a Central Florida car accident and personal injury law firm located in Altamonte Springs. Proudly serving all injury victims throughout Central Florida including residents of Brevard County, Lake County, Orange County, Osceola County, Seminole County, and Volusia County.
Presser Law, P.A. is founded on the idea that injury victims deserve aggressive and straight forward representation to help them through some of their most difficult times. “Fighting for Justice. Fighting for You.” is more than a motto. It is our promise and reminder to our clients that we stand with them, fighting to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.
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