In the wake of a car accident, interacting with insurance companies can often be a complex and overwhelming process. A common request from these companies is for you to provide a recorded statement after a car accident in Chicago.
This article examines the risks of a recorded statement, and what to do if you’re asked to give one.
Understanding Recorded Statements
A recorded statement is essentially a conversation between you and the insurance adjuster, which is then recorded and transcribed. As part of their investigation into your claim, the insurance company may request such a statement.
It’s crucial to remember that in Illinois, insurance companies are legally obligated to secure your consent before recording or monitoring your conversation.
The Dilemma: To Give or Not to Give a Recorded Statement?
More often than not, it’s advisable to refrain from providing a recorded statement. The rationale behind this is that the insurance company is typically looking for avenues to either minimize the amount they have to pay you or to reject your claim outright.
Even if you believe you have nothing to hide, it’s important to understand that their objective is not necessarily to uncover the truth, but rather to find reasons to deny your claim. Legally, you are not obligated to provide a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company, and you have the right to refuse this request.
The Potential Pitfalls of Recorded Statements
Recorded statements, and the conversations that lead up to them, are often used to undermine legitimate car accident claims. The insurance company may pose questions designed to misrepresent your situation in a number of ways.
Many insurance companies use recorded statements to get you to say things they can later manipulate to use against you. For instance, if you state in a recorded statement that you didn’t sustain any injuries from the accident but begin to notice symptoms later on, they can use your initial statement to refuse claims.
Insurance companies are businesses aiming to reduce payouts. As a result, they might employ strategies that are not in your best interest, even if their approach appears friendly and routine.
Misconstruing Your Words
Insurance adjusters are adept at formulating questions that might lead you to give answers that can later be twisted or misinterpreted to suggest you were at fault. For example, a seemingly harmless response can inadvertently imply negligence on your part or downplay the severity of your injuries.
The Privilege of the Insured’s Statements in Illinois
In Illinois, not all statements are privileged, and these privileges can be waived. The Illinois Supreme Court acknowledged the application of the attorney-client privilege to statements taken by an insurer in People v. Ryan. However, in first-party claims, where the insurer and insured are in opposition, this privilege would not apply.
The Recommended Course of Action
If an adjuster contacts you requesting a statement, it’s advisable to politely decline and inform them that you will not provide any statements until you have consulted with your attorney. It’s generally best to let a competent attorney handle communications with the other driver’s insurance company.
Navigating the intricacies of insurance law can be a challenging task. Therefore, it’s always recommended to seek legal advice when dealing with insurance claims. Always remember, it’s your right to refuse to provide a recorded statement to an insurance company.
How to Respond to a Request for a Recorded Statement
If you decide to provide a statement, proceed with caution. Your words will become a permanent part of your claim. Don’t be rushed into providing a statement before you’re ready. You can refuse to provide a recorded statement and offer to send a written statement instead.
Never provide a recorded statement or answer any questions from the insurance company if you are upset, confused, medicated, sleep-deprived, or in severe pain. You also have the right to postpone providing a statement until you have consulted with a personal injury attorney.
Contact a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Today
You should talk with one of our Chicago injury lawyers before making any decisions that could impact your claim. Contact our offices at 312-757-8640 for a free case review. Remember, it’s your right to refuse to provide a recorded statement to an insurance company.