In almost every personal injury case, the insurance company asks for a recorded statement. The insurance adjustor will say the recorded statement is a required as part of the investigation. This is a trap. Recorded statements are voluntary and not required to make a claim.
In this blog, we consider when and under what circumstances (if any) to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster.
One approach (paraphrased from Winston Churchill) is “Never, ever ever ever ever [give a recorded statement to an insurance company].” At the risk of disagreeing with Mr. Churchill, the better answer is it depends.
If the claim is against another party’s insurance company (also known as a third-party claim), then our firm’s policy is not to give a recorded statement. If the claim is against our client’s own insurance company (for example, in an uninsured motorist claim), then we are contractually obligated to give a statement to the insurance company.
We prefer not to allow recorded statements in third-party cases because, in our experience, the true (and only) purpose is for the insurance companies to find reasons to deny the claim or to pay less on the claim. Just like criminal lawyers tell their clients not to say anything, the same applies in personal injury cases; the less said the better.
As mentioned above, when the other party does not have insurance and we are making an uninsured motorist claim, we must follow the terms of the insurance policy, which include giving a recorded statement. These are called examinations under oath (EUO’s). In these situations, we spend significant time preparing our clients for the recorded statement.
If we must give a recorded statement, we request a copy of the recorded statement and we read the following before every recorded statement: “This statement is being given for the sole purpose of providing [name of insurance company] and its adjuster, [name of adjuster], who is acting as an agent of its insured, [name of defendant], with information that may assist them in evaluating and compromising this claim. This statement is being given under O.C.G.A. § 24-4-408(b) and it is agreed by everyone that this statement is not evidence nor is it discoverable or admissible at trial including impeachment, should this claim proceed to litigation.”
If you are ever in the situation where you are being asked to give a recorded statement in a personal injury case, please consider calling an attorney to discuss your options.