Insurance companies go out of their way to convince people to reduce the amount of a claim. Many people either think that giving information could not affect their claim or that they must give the recorded statements, or the insurance company will not give them any compensation. However, the questions that insurance companies ask you are created to be used against you later. Before giving recorded statements or interacting with insurance companies, it is important to ask for help from a lawyer. Let an attorney be the one to tell you which questions to answer.
We had a client who was involved in a car accident and decided to settle his claim without a lawyer. The insurance adjuster asked what injuries he received as a result of the accident. The client commented that his shoulder hurt but failed to mention any other injuries, as his shoulder was what hurt the most at that moment. He did not mention to the doctor that he also had pain in his legs and back because that pain was less acute. Months later, when he included his back and leg injuries in his claim, the insurer accused him of being a liar and claimed he committed fraud.
If you fail to mention an injury, the insurance company may later accuse you of lying and will say, “Now you are complaining of a knee injury, but when we took your recorded statement after the accident, you did not say anything about that injury. You must be doing this to obtain benefits from the accident.” However, we were able to get the full amount of his insurance policy.
The second and biggest way in which insurance companies use the statements recorded against you is to get a supposed answer about how the accident happened or to make you confess that you know nothing about the incident. For example, the insurance company may ask how fast the person who crashed into you was going.
If you say that they were going at least 45 miles per hour, and the evidence later indicates that the speed was closer to 15 miles per hour, the insurance company may say that, since you were exaggerating the speed when we took your statement, you may also be exaggerating the extent your injuries.
Another example is when the insurance company asks you where the other car came from. If you respond by indicating they may come up with a plausible explanation of why their insured is not at fault because you cannot say what they did wrong. Even if the only reason why you answered, “I do not know,” is because you did not have the time to investigate all the information and evidence, you may be unable to recover compensation.