If you are ever unfortunate enough to be in a car accident, you will probably be called upon to give a telephonic statement to one or more insurance adjusters about the way the accident happened, the nature of the damage to the vehicles, and the injuries you sustained, if any. Depending on whether you make a claim against the other driver’s insurance or your own, or even if a claim is made against your own auto insurance coverage by the other driver or his passengers, it is standard practice for the insurance companies involved to seek a recorded statement from the drivers involved.
The insurance companies do this for several reasons, and some of these reasons are not necessarily obvious at first glance. First, they need information about what happened to evaluate any claims that have been made, and usually the participants are the best people to ask. Second, they want to make a verbatim record of your statement to commit you to a particular version of events. If you say something different later, then the recorded statement can be used to call your credibility into question. Third, if you say something that is not true, either because you made a mistake, or you fibbed about something, the error in your recorded statement can be used to attack your credibility. And finally, the information in your recorded statement can help your insurance company narrow the focus of their investigation to the factual details that are truly disputed.
Furthermore, if your own insurance company contacts you about giving a recorded statement about a car accident, you probably have a contractual obligation under the terms of your policy to provide the statement they have asked for. This is because every auto insurance policy issued in Georgia is required to include language that requires your cooperation with your insurance carrier in the event that a claim is made against you.
There are some limitations on the ability of car insurance carriers to take a statement from an injured person. A provision of the Official Code of Georgia restricts the right of an insurance carrier to take a written or oral statement from a person confined in a hospital or health care center within 15 days of the date of the injury. Nor may an insurance carrier negotiate or attempt to negotiate a settlement or obtain a general release of liability during that period of time.
In the event that you have given a statement to an insurance carrier, if the matter ends up in a lawsuit you have a right to a copy of your statement.
If you’re called on to give a recorded statement to any insurance carrier, and you wish to have legal representation, then please call The Bowman Law Office, at 912-401-0121.