Insurance companies love taking recorded statements from people after a car accident. Most notably, these statements are taken from drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
At first, it seems straight forward and helpful. Some clients think “I can use the statement to support my claim.” But is that really true?
This is why you should be wary of recording a statement if you are making an injury claim.
The Legal Implications of a Recorded Statement
A recorded statement may be used as a way for an insurance company to attack your credibility. Even if the statement is not being made under oath, this will not stop an insurance defence lawyer from pointing out any inconsistencies with your statement in contrast with other evidence related to your accident and injuries.
The problem with a recorded statement is interpretation. To you, you are just a normal person trying to tell the truth. However, your words are often being interpreted by a trained legal professional and how you say something as regular conversation may not be applied in the same way later down the road when you are trying to claim compensation for injuries.
For example, if you record in your statement that you suffer from lower back injuries and later on, your medical records show complaints in the thoracic spine (which is the middle of your back), then the insurance company may try to find ways to prove that those thoracic spine injuries are occurring from something else other than the accident (e.g. from carrying your children, from work, from extracurricular activities, etc.)
Many people get subjected to this argument and if not analysed properly, it may prolong settlement or minimize compensation.
Even a seemingly minor act such as taking a recorded statement may have profound effects on a personal injury claim that can delay when an insurance company is willing to settle or affect how much they are willing to settle for your claim.
Do I Have to Give a Statement?
In Australia, there is no law that explicitly requires a claimant to subject themselves to a recorded statement with a competing insurance company (i.e. the insurance company of the at fault driver). Doing so only provides the defending insurance company with additional information that may be used against you.
There is a general duty to cooperate with the insurance company such as providing medical records or other evidence to substantiate your claim. However, it is important to seek the representation of a Brisbane personal injury lawyer in order to make sure that you are not providing more than what is required by law.
If an insurance company tells you that you have to provide a statement, first speak to a lawyer.
The insurance company will be doing everything they can to defeat your claim. Do not help them achieve this.
Is a Recorded Statement Helpful?
A common explanation from the insurance company on why a recorded statement can be helpful to a claimant is because having more information up front will allow the insurance company to help settle your claim faster.
Do not be fooled by this.
Information recorded on a statement will be checked by the insurance company anyway. Why does it matter if you tell them sooner what your injuries are and how an accident happened? All of that information will be confirmed by your other evidence such as your accident report, your medical evidence and your property damage report.
The only reason a settlement may be expedited by a recorded statement is because an insurance company is just offering you a low ball settlement to make your claim go away.
A request for a recorded statement is often just a tactic to try and attack your credibility later.
Speak to a Brisbane Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been in a car accident, then take the time to seek out personal injury lawyers Brisbane. East Coast Injury Lawyers can help you understand your legal claim and protect your rights from a defending insurance company.
Simply contact us by calling us or filling out our case review form.