If you make a claim to an insurance company, they may ask you to take a recorded statement. Sometimes, you have no legal obligation to make a recorded statement. Other times it is necessary to proceed with a claim. Regardless, your recorded statement can either improve or worsen your chances of recovering money for your claim. Here we discussed crucial principles you should know about recorded statements.
What Is a Recorded Statement?
A recorded statement is an interview that you make under oath and that is recorded. This declaration under oath is made by either the insurance adjuster was handling your claim or an investigator hired by the insurance company to investigate your claim. It is uncommon for an attorney to conduct the interview. This means, that the person conducting a recorded statement does not necessarily have to be attorney.
Why Do Insurance Companies Request Recorded Statements?
Simply stated, insurance companies conduct recorded statement to investigate the claim. They are interested in investigating a claim to determine whether they have any obligation to pay you money and/or whether someone else has any obligation to pay money. Insurance companies typically do this because they have an obligation to under California insurance code regulations and their insurance policy agreements with their insurance.
However, insurance companies are incentivized to discover information that limits how much money they have to pay for claim. This is because at the end of the day insurance companies or businesses motivated by profit. As such, it is to the insurance companies benefit to reduce how much money they have to pay for claims.
Do I Have to Agree to A Recorded Statement?
Whether you have to agree to a recorded statement depends on your relationship to the insurance company. Typically, if you make a claim against someone else’s insurance company, you likely do not have an obligation to make a recorded statement. In these situations, you are not considered an insured. Therefore, the insurance company has very limited, if any, duties to you. Instead, the insurance company has a duty to their insured, which could be the person who injured you.
If you make a claim with your own insurance company then you probably have an obligation to make a recorded statement. In these situations your considered the insured. As the insured, you have to abide by the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. These terms explain all of your obligations as an insured. The majority of these insurance policies now require you to make a recorded statement if you make certain claims.
Ultimately, you should consult with an attorney to determine whether you have an obligation to make a recorded statement.
When Do Recorded Statements Occur?
Recorded statement generally occur at the very beginning of making a claim. Once you submit a claim to the insurance company, they will then assign an adjuster who will gather basic information. That adjuster, or person hired by the adjuster may then ask for your interview. The statement under oath can then occur at a time that you agree.
The majority of recorded statement now occur over the telephone. At the beginning of the call, the interviewer will ask for your verbal consent to audio record the conversation, and then proceed with questions. In some circumstances, interviews occur in person. When the statement under oath occur in person, it is typically conducted by an investigator hired by the insurance company.
What Do They Ask in Recorded Statements?
An insurance company will not provide you all of the questions to recorded statement ahead of time., But typically the questions are standard for traditional third-party injury claims. The two most important questions that the insurance company is likely interested in our: who is responsible for the accident and what are your damages.
Regarding the first question, the insurance company will ask you questions about how the accident occurred. For example, they may ask you for details regarding how fast you are driving, whether there was a stop sign, the color of the stoplight, where you were injured, and other details concerning how the accident occurred.
Then, the insurance company likely will ask you about your medical treatment and injuries. These questions typically concern identifying the hospitals that have treated you, identifying your diagnoses, identifying your future treatment, and potential wage loss damages.
In personal injury claims is common for your own insurance carrier to request your recorded statement if you make a resident relative UIM claim. In California UIM coverage and uninsured motorist coverage also apply to resident relatives. Resident relatives or family members who live with the person who has the UIM or UM insurance policy. To reap benefits under the insurance policy, you have to establish that you meet the resident relative definition. As such it is common for insurance companies to interview you. During interview, the insurance company likely ask you specific details regarding your familial relationship and whether you are a resident of the household. These questions can include: who is responsible for buying groceries, who cooks, who pays rent/mortgage, etc.
Should I Consult An Attorney Before Making Recorded Statement?
Anyone who makes a personal injury claim should consider consulting with a personal injury attorney before making a recorded statement. These interviews are recorded. This means, that anything you say will be memorialized and could always be referenced. As such, if you say something that is damaging to your claim, then the recorded statement could always be used against you. Considering this potential pitfall, it could be to your benefit to have an attorney prepare you for your recorded statement. Personal injury attorneys are very familiar with recorded statements and whether they are necessary. So, consider relying on their expertise before providing an interview under oath.