Giving a Statement to Insurance After an Accident
After getting into a car accident, you’re probably frazzled – there are police reports, other drivers, injuries minor or severe, and damage to your vehicle to deal with. Following an accident, an insurance adjuster might call you.
Here’s what you need to know before that happens:
- You’re not obligated to give a statement right away. Insurance adjusters may use tactics to get you to talk or to pester you into saying something. But you’re not bound to give a statement right away. Tell the adjuster you need some time to recover and think it over. There is no law in Illinois or any state that requires you to give a record state to the insurance company of a driver who may be at fault for an accident. (You do, however, have to cooperate with your own insurer.)
- “I don’t have anything to hide” is a bad reason to give a statement right away. Since you’re not obligated to make a statement the first time an adjuster calls, don’t. Many people think, “The accident wasn’t my fault, so why should I wait?” This is a bad assumption. Insurance adjusters will be looking for statements that could be used as admissions of fault.
- The insurance adjuster will likely record your conversation about the incident, so you should say no – at first. You do not want to be recorded making a statement. After the stress of an accident, you may say something that can be used against you or twisted to admit fault or inaccurately represent what actually happened. It’s best to speak with an experienced lawyer before ever speaking with an insurance adjuster.
- Schedule a follow-up call with insurance. This will give you time to prepare for the statement.
- When you get off the phone, call a Chicago injury lawyer and make a game plan. If you haven’t already done so, contacting a Chicago personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation can help immensely. Since you already know when the follow-up call will be, you need to review the accident report and any photos from the scene of the accident or property damage, and obtain any medical records. Make sure you have witnesses ready as well. An experienced lawyer can help you prepare for the statement.
- Since most statements are recorded, ask for a copy of the statement transcript. You have a right to a copy of any statement you give. Ask for it before you begin conversing with the insurance adjuster. He or she will likely say that it will not be transcribed. Don’t let that deter you. Ask for whatever copy they can provide, even if it’s an audio file.
- Don’t volunteer more than you’ve been asked. Think carefully about the questions the insurance adjuster asks, and answer only those. Do not volunteer additional information.
If you have been hurt, let us help. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we can handle the burden of paperwork and coach you on the personal injury process so you can recover. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation with our Chicago car crash attorneys.