Should I Give A Statement To An Insurance Adjuster after Being Injured In A Slip And Fall?
After you have been injured, the insurance adjuster of the defendant will call and ask you questions about what happened and your damages. This call may feel like it is just information gathering, that everyone is being cooperative, and that is beneficial to you to give this information to the insurance adjuster. That is not the case. The insurance company is often taking advantage of people who believe that honesty is the best policy and that getting along is better than not getting along. There is no Indiana law that requires you to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster after you have been injured in a car accident or a slip and fall. If the insurance company asks for a recorded statement and you refuse to do so, there is no recourse for that insurance company. They cannot deny your claim; they cannot have civil sanctions against you; they cannot file any criminal charges against you.
A recorded statement is nothing more than an insurance company attempting to gather information to use against you later in any litigation that might arise from your injury-producing event. If it is your own insurance company calling after you have been involved in a traffic accident, then you would need to cooperate. Your insurance policy has explicit requirements that require you to cooperate by giving a statement explaining how you have been injured, how the accident occurred, and what medical attention you are seeking.
I have found that jurors are not necessarily prejudiced against insurance companies. Many attorneys believe that once the topic of insurance is injected into a jury trial, the jury is more likely to award a significant sum to the plaintiff. I find that not to be true. Many jurors, in fact, will consider a large jury verdict to be adverse to their own personal interests because they believe that the large jury verdict might increase insurance premiums for all drivers. In my opinion, the benefits of injecting the topic of insurance before a jury is outweighed by the possibility that the person who was injured gives inconsistent factual statements as to how the injury occurred.
When you have been injured and an insurance adjuster calls and asks to take a recorded statement, you might be still under the influence of the medications that are helping you heal; you might be taking pain killers that hinder your ability to remember exactly what happened. When you get to a jury trial, a year or two down the road, you may remember things differently. That inconsistency is exactly the kind of thing that the jurors are looking for with regard to denying liability and finding on behalf of the defendant.
Every decision that an insurance company makes with regard to a settlement is based upon a risk analysis. They will not reward you for cooperation and they are not swayed by the persuasive skills of a plaintiff. Insurance companies only pay when they are afraid that they are going to lose more money by not paying. If you believe that giving a recorded statement is in your best interest, have your lawyer talk to the insurance adjuster and offer to give a written recorded statement instead. When it comes to a written recorded statement, you are more likely to be able to consult with your attorney to remember things more fully and to give a persuasive statement that controls the questions.
I do not believe that giving a recorded statement benefits a person in any way and only leads to the possibility of impeachment later for an inconsistent version of what happened. There will be plenty of opportunities to give statements after you have had time to reflect and consult with your attorney. If you give a recorded statement at the beginning of your claim, it does not destroy the opportunity for the defense to take your oral recorded statement later. At your deposition, they will give the defense lawyer the opportunity to bring out your original recorded statement. He will have the opportunity to ask why your story has changed.
The other reason an insurance company asks for a recorded statement is that they need to know how much money they need to set aside in order to settle this case later. An Insurance company runs under the idea of reserves. Reserves are what the insurance company must show to the Department of Insurance Commissioners as to their financial viability. In other words, the insurance company must have enough money on hand to pay every injured person, if those injured people all recover. The Indiana Department of Insurance will come out and make sure that the insurance company has enough cash in reserve to pay all their claimants. Otherwise, they are insoluble and will be shut down.
When an insurance adjuster is asking for your recorded statement, not only are they trying to use that against you later, they are trying to prove to the Department of Insurance that they have enough money on hand to pay for these claims. It really doesn’t help the injured person because the injured person can only recover the policy limit.
For more information on Giving A Statement To Insurance Adjusters, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (877) 225-5742 today.
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