So you have gotten in a wreck – your fault or not – if insurance is involved, there is a 99% chance you will be asked to give a recorded statement as part of the claims process by an insurance adjuster for the other person’s insurance. It’s also possible for your own insurance company to ask for a recorded statement as well.
Elizabeth helps with the car wreck insurance claims every day, this is a common question received from clients and/or potential clients. So this is a quick blog to help understand a bit more about a recorded statement and its implications for your car accident claim.
What is a recorded statement?
A recorded statement is a conversation – taken over the phone by an insurance adjuster or insurance claims handler, in which they begin the conversation by asking if they can record the conversation and then proceed to ask what happened. They also ask for your personal information (date of birth, address, telephone number, and social security number) and really . . . any other information they may need or want to investigate the claim, including if you were injured or not.
You won’t be allowed to ask questions, or rather, you will not be given any responses by the insurance adjuster while the recorder is on.
You will only be asked to give responses to scripted questions, and at times, very one-sided questions.
What is the purpose for a recorded statement?
The recorded statement is used by the insurance company to determine whether they have any responsibility to pay for vehicle repairs and medical bills. It’s a tool used for their benefit, and therefore, many of questions asked are framed in a way to benefit them.
Can you get a copy of your recorded statement?
Possibly. As the person giving a recorded statement, you can ask for a copy but there is no guarantee you will receive it. This goes back to the foundational part that the recorded statement is a tool for the insurance company and their own work product, used for their processes, i.e. their property.
Now in the event a lawsuit is filed for the car wreck, the recorded statements of all parties are discoverable – meaning a copy is available to the lawyer(s) who ask for it.
Do you get to hear what the other involved parties said in their recorded statements?
Quick answer: No. Again, the recorded statement is an investigative tool for the insurance company – they created it and its their property. There is no requirement they share recorded statements before a lawsuit is filed.
Do I give a recorded statement?
Let’s start with a better question: Am I required to give a recorded statement?
There is no Texas law or statute that requires a person in a car accident give a recorded statement. Your own insurance company may require a recorded statement per your own policy, and you should comply with your policy requirements.
You may be told by at-fault insurance company representative a recorded statement is required to process your claim – but, again this is a tool for their own investigation.
So let’s run through the basics to help with this question:
- It’s a tool for the insurance company’s own benefit – their records.
- It’s used to determine what they will do with your claim.
- You don’t get to ask any questions – only give responses
- You aren’t likely to get a copy.
- You won’t get a copy of the other party’s recorded statement.
Basically, a recorded statement is not in your best interest. It is in the insurance company’s best interest. In my experience, the recorded statements are used to limit decisions on paying car repairs and medical bills – even in the face of a police report clearly stating who is “at fault.”
The decision is up to you on giving a recorded statement, but if a police report is available give that first before you give a recorded statement.
Feeling pressure to give a recorded statement? Still have questions about what to do? Please call and talk to Elizabeth directly at (512) 893-5700. It’s free!