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What should you do if an insurer asks for a recorded statement?

Three days ago you were leaving the parking lot of the Bay Plaza Shopping Center when another driver who had one hand on the wheel and the other on their phone hit you from behind, causing you to suffer whiplash and a dislocated shoulder. Your doctor has informed you that until your shoulder heals, you won’t be able to work at your construction job, leaving you worried.

This morning an adjuster from the other driver’s insurance company calls you and asks for a recorded statement giving your version of how the crash occurred. When you ask if it is really necessary, he explains that the information is needed to confirm the driver’s liability and make you an offer.

Should you do it? You need money to cover your mounting medical bills as well as cover your own monthly expenses while you are off work. You know the accident was not your fault so what is wrong with telling the adjuster your side of the story?

Don’t do it. This is precisely the point where many injured motorists damage their claim. They think that they are being forthright and cooperative, but recorded statements can come back to haunt you in ways you never expected.

While your own insurance company may state in its policy that you need to provide a statement to validate coverage, representatives usually want to know what happened and what you remember about the accident. They don’t typically require a recorded statement.

It’s almost always the other side that wants this recording, and your best response is to decline. There is no benefit to providing a statement to the other driver’s insurance company when what they are really doing is trying to find you at fault in any way so that they can minimize the amount they must pay you in damages. If your claim ends up being litigated, the attorney for the other side can easily use your statement against you during cross-examination, knowing how easy it is for people to contradict something they said months previously. Even if you make a genuine mistake, you still appear untrustworthy.

Any communications should go through your own insurer. You should also consult a New York personal injury attorney to look out for your best interests and prevent you from unintentionally weakening your claim. Your attorney can communicate with the other driver’s insurer on your behalf and either negotiate a settlement that covers your losses or seek a jury award in court. In any event, you should be discussing your case only with your attorney as they, unlike an insurance company, are on your side. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident, then contact the law office of Jayson Lutzky, P.C. Speaking to an attorney is a good first step after an accident that may involve an insurance company. Mr. Lutzky offers free in-person consultations and home or hospital visits are available in the case of serious injury. Visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com/Accidents to learn more or call 718-329-9500.

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