Recorded Statements after a New Jersey Car Accident
If you were involved in a car accident in New Jersey, you most likely exchanged insurance information with the other driver and then called your own car insurance company to report the accident. If you were injured as either a driver or a passenger by the negligence of the other driver, however, the other driver’s automobile insurance company might try to contact you. If they do, they might ask you to give a detailed, recorded statement regarding the details of the accident and/or any resulting injuries that you sustained.
What most people don’t realize is that there are under no obligation to give such a statement to the negligent driver’s insurance company. In fact, often times such a statement could end up hurting your case, should you subsequently file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Usually, there are only two reasons why insurance adjusters in this context want a recorded statement from the person who will be asking their insurance company for compensation, and neither is good for you as the injured victim. First, the insurance adjuster for the at-fault driver might be trying to get you to admit at least some level of fault for the accident. If you do admit to any fault, they can later use your statements against you by arguing that your compensation should be reduced accordingly. Second, they might be trying to get you to make statements downplaying the severity of your injuries, which they could use against you later. This is obviously unfair, however, as immediately after an auto accident, you might not understand your injuries or even be aware of them, as many injuries take time to manifest themselves.
Insurance Adjusters are not Working to Help You
In short, adjusters for the other insurance company are not trying to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Instead, they are trying to get you to say something about the facts of the accident or to downplay your injuries, so that they can either deny your claim altogether, or so that they can pay you less than you deserve.
Although the adjuster will not likely inform you of this, you do have every right to refuse to give a recorded statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Many people believe that being honest is best, and will agree to give such a recorded statement, however, because they may feel that to do otherwise would appear dishonest. It is important to note, however, that honesty has nothing to do with your refusal to give such a statement. Instead, you are simply trying to avoid being subject to the traps that highly skilled and trained insurance adjusters use to disadvantage your case.
Talk to a New Jersey Car Accident Attorney before an Insurance Adjuster
It should be clear by now that there is simply no reason for you to talk to them then. Instead, you should consult an attorney, who will communicate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf and make sure you are protected. Thus, if you are contacted by an insurance adjuster is this context, you should simply inform them that you are represented by an attorney and that you would rather not give a statement. If the adjuster insists that you give a statement, or implies in any way that by refusing to do so, you are admitting fault, contact your attorney immediately.
The personal injury attorneys at Harrell, Smith and Williams are familiar with this process and will speak to the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf. If you are asked to give a recorded statement, contact us today at (908) 264-7288 to discuss your case.