To help prove car accident claims, your Car Accident Attorney will submit evidence to the insurance companies, including statements by the witnesses and persons who were involved in the accident. The form these statements take may be either as written or recorded statements. There is some advantage to each, including control issues.
Before you make any statements of any kind to insurance adjusters or companies, be sure to get advice from your own Car Accident Attorney. If you say the wrong thing, it could keep you from obtaining fair compensation. You may want your attorney to be present when you are giving a statement, over the phone or in person. Be aware that the insurance representative may try to lead you into making a statement as you are talking with them over the telephone, because it is to their advantage to do so.
What Insurance Companies Prefer
Insurance companies prefer the written statement for several reasons, including control of the interview. When they ask you to give a statement over the phone and they are recording it, they most likely are following a script that leads the person being interviewed in the particular direction the interviewer wants to go. What information they want may differ from what you believe is important. Your comments may never even be included, because you are not in control of the interview.
Depending on your policy specifics, you may not have the right to deny a recorded statement, but you will have the right to also submit your own written statement. Again, look to your own attorney for advice about statements. They can help you with recorded statements or composing your own written statement for submission.
Each form of statement has different advantages and disadvantages. Witness statements and those of others involved in the case are used to prove or deny claims. Obviously, the insurance company wants to discredit claims, so they pay little or no compensation. You and your attorney want to use these statements as evidence to prove your claims and win the case, along with maximum compensation. You may discover that you will be asked to give or provide both types of statements during your case, which is another reason to consult with your own Car Accident Attorney immediately after a car accident.
- Recorded – The main benefit to recorded statements is control. The interviewer can lead the interviewee to answer questions that ultimately favor the company. It fits well into a script-lead interview, where the company controls the information input. Answers to scripted questions often sound awkward, or unnatural. Recordings are transcribed and will then be easier to read than a statement written by the interviewee. It also takes less time to get a statement than having to write out answers.
- Written – Again, control is the main benefit of written statements. The person composing the statement can slant the verbiage to reflect their position, which favors their story. There is no time pressure and the statement can be edited and revised until perfect. The tone and content of the statement is controlled and your attorney can easily review it prior to submission to an insurance company. The statement can be carefully constructed, there is no pressure to think on-the-spot and errors that might affect the outcome of the case can be eliminated before submission.
- Recorded – Disadvantages primarily affect the interviewee. They may feel pressured and give a shaky answer or sound confused. The recording can be damaged at any time, or be of low quality due to background noises. This type of statement is not usually signed at the time of recording. Witness impressions are more accurate when the person is seen in person.
- Written – These statements take longer to produce and perhaps may be harder to read or understand, if the person is illiterate. A written statement may not be favorable to an insurance company, so they prefer recordings that they control. The opposition can slant the tone and content to favor their argument.
Statements about a car accident become valuable evidence used to support claims of the injured party. They can be a strong force against insurance companies and adjuster reports. They are very useful for capturing witness reports of what happened at the accident scene, without having those persons appear in person every time the evidence is examined.
It is important to consult with your Car Accident Attorney before you make any statements about your car accident to anyone else. Anything you say that is recorded or written down can be used to prove or disprove your claim and version of the accident. Statements by witnesses sometimes are introduced at settlement talks and in the courtroom, rather than calling those persons in to testify in person. This saves time and money, but statements can also be used selectively to support a position in the case.
Modern electronic devices allow capturing of photos and recording verbal statements easy. Most people today carry a cell phone that also has either a still or video camera installed, along with sound recorders. These can be used at the crash location to provide evidence of how the accident happened and damages or injuries that occurred due to the crash. These are important pieces of evidence you can use later, but again, be cautious when making any type of statement. It is always best to consult with your own Car Accident Attorney before volunteering any statements about the accident or damages.
When you do have recordings and other electronic evidence, have your attorney double check them to see if you should turn those over to the insurance company or not. An innocently made simple statement could sink your entire case if presented to the wrong person at the wrong time. Listen to your experienced Car Accident Attorney; they know what effect certain statements or recordings can have upon a lawsuit presentation.