You Need to Know This Before You Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company
The California Department of Insurance Fraud Division estimates that automobile insurance fraud crimes cost the industry about $149,224,681 for the fiscal year 2010 to 2011. Automobile fraud includes staged accidents, false claims, medical mills and motor vehicle thefts. The Fraud Division receives almost 17,000 suspected fraudulent claims a year and makes over 200 arrests. Unfortunately, the existence of false claims can have an effect on the way an insurance adjuster can view your legitimate claim of injury in a motor vehicle accident in California.
What you should know before giving a recorded statement to an insurance company after a car accident
When there is a car accident, each of the insurance companies involved will conduct its own independent investigation of the accident. This may include taking pictures of the vehicles to assess the damage, getting witness statements and interviewing the persons involved in the accident. Many times an insurance company will request a recorded or written statement from you. You have an obligation to cooperate with your insurance company. However, you should be aware of the following before giving a recorded statement, even to your insurance company:
- You can and should have your attorney with you when you are giving the statement. Using the wrong word can result in your story being twisted by the insurance company in an effort to minimize or deny your claim.
- Do not guess or presume any facts but only state what you know to be true. There is nothing wrong with saying you don’t know.
- When giving a written statement, you will be allowed to read the statement before signing it. Be careful that the statement reflects what you intended to say. For example, if you answered a question in an unsure tone it will appear that way in writing. If you are not sure say so.
- Know what the insurance company is trying to accomplish. The investigator taking your statement may seem friendly but they are not on your side, even if they are working for your insurance company. For example, your med pay insurance company may be looking to verify that you are, in fact, receiving the medical treatment for which they are are being billed.
It is important to consult with an experienced California car accident attorney BEFORE speaking with the insurance companies about your car accident and your injuries. Our attorneys can explain what the insurance adjusters are looking to accomplish so to make sure your rights are protected and your claim is not unfairly prejudiced.