One of the first things that happen after you report a car accident is getting a visit from the other driver’s insurance adjuster asking for a recorded statement. Often, you do not even have time to consult with a Baton Rouge car accident lawyer and learn about your rights.
First of all, try postponing any statement until you talk to an attorney. If the adjuster insists on getting a statement in order to open your claim, follow these guidelines.
Do I Have to Give a Recorded Statement?
You do not have to give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. The insurer will be looking for any way to deny your claim or minimize your settlement. You should talk to a lawyer about the best course of action in your specific situation.
You may be required by your policy to provide a statement to your own insurance company. If your insurance asks for a statement, a lawyer can give you advice on what to say and what not to say.
Do Not Admit Fault
One of the first things to remember is that Louisiana uses a pure comparative negligence principle in all personal injury cases. This means that, although you can recover compensation irrespective of the level of responsibility for the crash, the amount of actual damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Thus, any admission of fault will make the adjuster make you appear more at fault for the accident than the other driver Imagine suffering damages evaluated at $100,000 and the adjuster says that you only get $20,000, because you were 80% at fault for the crash. That amount wouldn’t even cover the hospital bills.
Do Not Speculate
In some cases, the adjuster will start chatting with you and asking you to elaborate on the accident. They will encourage you to talk and even ask tricky questions such as: “What do you think happened?”
At this point, the only answer is that it is too early to say because the police officers have not yet released the report with their findings. Do not come up with speculations, such as:
- Maybe the other driver was tired or drunk.
- Maybe their car stopped working.
- Maybe they hit a pothole.
The problem is that if one of your assertions in the recorded statement is proven wrong, all the others will be doubted. And your Baton Rouge car crash lawyer will have to work harder to prove your damages and your actual percentage of fault.
Do Not Give More Information than Necessary
In the same line of chatting, the insurance adjuster will lead you to make statements that are not directly related to the crash. For example, you may end up revealing:
- That you had a busy day at work.
- That you have an old back injury.
- That you went out with friends last night and had a couple of drinks.
These details can become incredibly damaging to your case in an adjuster’s hands. They will spin a narrative that makes you either drowsy driving or drunk driving. Also, the old injury will be used to justify your current condition and suffering.
Remember to Remain Polite and Cooperative
All these things being said, it will not benefit your case if you are rude or refuse to cooperate with the adjuster. Everything you say and do will be noted in the adjuster’s report. They will remark that you are unwilling to offer information and infer that you are still thinking about inventing a good story to win compensation.
At the same time, you are not obliged to put up with a rude and aggressive insurance adjuster, either. As soon as you start feeling intimidated or forced to say and do things you do not want them, tell them so and ask them to leave.
Also, mention that you will report them to the proper authorities for unprofessional conduct.
A Baton Rouge Car Accident Lawyer Will Take Over Negotiations with the Insurer!
Giving a recorded statement without a lawyer’s guidance may be intimidating. If you cannot avoid it, follow the guidelines in the article. Afterward, make sure to get in touch with an attorney and repeat the information you gave the adjuster as accurately as you can remember.
Once the Baton Rouge car accident lawyer starts working on your case, you won’t have to deal with the adjuster on your own. The attorney will conduct investigations of your crash, collect evidence, and negotiate your settlement with the insurance company.
Remember that, as a new client, you benefit from a free case review. Call us today at 888-407-0911!