Posted in Car accident on December 7, 2020
If you get into a car accident in West Virginia, expect to receive a phone call from someone with the title of insurance claims adjuster as soon as the day of or the day after the crash. One of the things the insurance adjuster may ask for is a recorded statement. Do not give a recorded statement, as this is generally a tactic to hurt your claim. The insurance company is not on your side and could use the statement against you.
No law in West Virginia requires you to give an insurance company a recorded statement during a car accident claim. You are not legally obligated to give a statement, regardless of what the insurance adjuster tells you. If the adjuster says he or she needs a recorded statement before you can continue your claim, politely explain that the law does not obligate you to give one and that you will submit a written statement instead. A written statement allows you to remain in control of the information you give to the insurance company, rather than risk saying the wrong thing over the phone in the moment.
The recorded statement is a point of contention during an insurance claim due to the way most insurance companies use it. Although an insurance claims adjuster may tell you he or she wishes to record a statement to get the facts of the case down on record or for quality assurance purposes, the real reason is to have something to use against you later to diminish the value of your car accident claim.
The goal of obtaining a recorded statement from you early on in your case is to have you on record saying something incorrect or inaccurate about your crash. Recording a statement saying you are not injured the day of your car accident, for example, could help the insurance company avoid paying you if you discover an injury with delayed symptoms the next day. Giving incorrect information to the claims adjuster during a recorded statement before you fully understand the facts of the case could also hurt your claim, as it could portray you as an unreliable witness.
Do not agree to give a recorded statement during your insurance claim in West Virginia, even if the claims adjuster says refusing to give one will delay the processing of your claim. Be polite in your refusal, but firm. Say that you and your attorney will submit a written statement once you have all the facts. Then, contact a car accident lawyer to assist you with your claim as soon as possible. A lawyer can give you further advice as to how to properly handle conversations with an insurance adjuster.
You do not need to give a recorded statement to another driver’s insurance company or your own provider, in most cases. Check the fine print of your auto insurance policy to see if there is a cooperation clause. If so, you may have agreed to cooperate with an investigation – including giving a recorded statement – when you purchased the policy. If you must give a statement, do not admit any fault for the accident. Stick to the truth and facts as you know them, but only answer the questions asked. Do not give more information than is necessary to answer each question.
A claims adjuster may not stop calling you until you submit a statement. Hire a lawyer to help you with every stage of your insurance claim, including submitting a written statement as soon as possible. The statement must be accurate and concise, as well as shield you from liability for the accident. Although something as simple as a conversation with an insurance claims adjuster may not seem complicated, saying the wrong thing could hurt your case remove your right to recover. Trust your case to an attorney for the best odds of success.