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Insurance agent explaining insurance policy to customer.

Partner with Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp Personal Injury Law Firm

When a person is injured in a car accident and files a claim against the other driver’s insurance company, the insurance adjuster assigned to the case usually contacts the victim to interview them about the accident. They are trained to also attempt to get the victim to agree to record this interview.

As a Virginia car accident attorney will advise, you should never agree to this type of tape recorded interview and never agree to have your conversation recorded. Statements made in the immediate aftermath of an accident can be unclear or misinterpreted. Insurance adjusters may use your words against you or take them out of context, potentially leading to misunderstandings or disputes later on. In fact, any communication with the insurance adjuster should always be done through your attorney after you report the facts of being in the accident and reporting that you have injuries, the extent of which you are unsure.  That’s the end of direct involvement, based on prudent advice from our law firm.

The following is a brief overview of a recorded statement and how it should be handled. If you have been injured in a crash, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to speak with a member of our legal team and find out what your rights are during this time. We can discuss how we can help get you the damages you may be entitled to.

What Is a Recorded Statement?

When an insurance adjuster requests a recorded statement, they ask that you speak with them, answer their questions, and that you allow the entire conversation to be recorded. That recorded statement is then transcribed into a written statement.

One of the insurance adjuster’s goals for this interview is to get the victim to say something that can be used against them to diminish or deny their claim. Insurance adjusters are trained to guide conversations and ask victims questions to garner certain responses, which can then be used against them.

As the insurance adjuster asks questions, he or she is also looking for inconsistencies in the victim’s statements. They will look at statements the victim may have made to police at the crash site regarding whether or not they feel they have been injured and compare that to what the victim may have said in the statement or to their doctor.

For example, if the victim sustained an injury that had delayed symptoms, like a back injury, they may have thought they weren’t injured at the scene of the accident and told the police after that, but a few days later, they went to their doctor because they were in serious back pain. During the recorded statement, the adjuster may try to poke holes in the victim’s statements about their injury, accuse them of changing it, etc., which can intimidate the victim into saying something that could later be used against them.

Another issue with the recorded statement is that the insurance company usually tries to get the victim to make it within a day or two following the accident. Adjusters know that immediately after an accident, victims may be in shock or experiencing heightened emotions. This can impact their ability to provide a clear and accurate account of the events, or in other cases, the victim has simply not recognized the seriousness of the injuries or has not obtained a complete diagnosis either. The adjuster might exploit this vulnerability to gather information that may not fully represent the facts of the accident.

There is also the issue of how bad the victim’s injuries are. They may not have had the opportunity to fully understand their injuries before being asked to provide a recorded statement. At this early stage, many victims have no idea the extent of their injury, the treatments they will need, how long they will take to recover, and if they will be left with any long-term or permanent disabilities.

Consider the vast difference in writing out a paragraph about what you actually know as opposed to answering a series of, let’s say, 50 questions from an insurance adjuster. The adjuster is trying to rule out as many problem areas for the pocketbook of the insurance company as possible. Did your brakes work? Was there anything mechanically wrong with your car? How was the visibility, was it raining?  Were you distracted? We advocate against giving a written or recorded statement, but a recorded statement is vastly less damaging than a recorded statement because you’re typically just putting down words that relate to what you actually know and what actually happened.

What Should a Victim Do if the Insurance Adjuster Calls?

If you have been in a vehicle accident caused by another driver and the insurance adjuster handling the claim contacts you, tell the adjuster that you will not make any statements or provide any information besides that you were in the wreck and you believe you do have injuries until you have spoken with your attorney. An attorney can help protect your rights, ensure you don’t say anything that could harm your case, and negotiate on your behalf for fair compensation.

If you already have retained a Virginia car accident attorney, you can tell the adjuster to contact the attorney directly and provide the adjuster with your attorney’s information.

Contact Our Office Today

If you don’t have an attorney yet, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Virginia Beach car accident attorneys. It’s crucial to have a complete understanding of your situation and consult with our firm before agreeing to any recorded statements. Do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company before contacting our firm, otherwise, your claim could be jeopardized.

Our attorneys will work diligently to get you the compensation you deserve, like the $930,000 insurance settlement we obtained for one client who suffered multiple injuries after another driver failed to yield the right of way and slammed into his vehicle.



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