If you have been in an auto wreck, whether it was your fault or not, there is a 99 percent chance you will be asked to give a recorded statement as part of the claims process by an adjuster for the other person’s insurance provider. It’s possible that your own insurance company will ask for a recorded statement as well.
Trial lawyer Elizabeth Larrick helps with car wreck insurance claims every day, and this is a common question she gets from clients and potential clients. We answer these questions to help you understand a bit more about recorded statements and their implications for your car wreck claim.
What Is a Recorded Statement?
A recorded statement is a conversation, usually over the phone with an insurance adjuster or insurances claims handler, in which they begin the conversation by asking if they can record the conversation and then proceed to ask what happened. They also ask for your personal information (date of birth, address, telephone number, and Social Security number) and any other information they may need or want to investigate the claim, including if you were injured or not.
If you ask questions, you will not be given any responses by the insurance adjuster while the recorder is on. You will only be asked to give responses to scripted and, at times, very one-sided questions.
What Is a Recorded Statement Used for?
The recorded statement is used by the insurance company to determine whether they have any responsibility to pay for car repairs or medical bills following an accident. It’s a tool used for their benefit, and therefore many of the questions asked are framed to benefit them.
Can I Get a Copy of My Recorded Statement?
Possibly. As the person giving a recorded statement, you can ask for a copy, but there is no guarantee you will receive it. Remember, the recorded statement is a tool for the insurance company and their own work product, used for their processes.
However, in the event a lawsuit is filed for the car wreck, the recorded statements of all parties are discoverable—meaning a copy is available to the trial lawyer who asks for it.
Do I Get to Hear the Recorded Statements of Other Involved Parties?
Quick answer: No. Again, the recorded statement is an investigative tool for the insurance company—they created it and it’s their property. There is no requirement they share recorded statements before a lawsuit is filed.
So, Should I Give a Recorded Statement?
Let’s start with a better question: Do you have to give a recorded statement?
There is no Texas law or statute that requires a person in a car collision to give a recorded statement as part of an insurance claim process. Now, you may be told a recorded statement is required to process your claim, but, again, this is a tool for their own investigation.
So let’s run through the basics to help with this question:
- A recorded statement is a tool for the insurance company’s own benefit.
- It’s used to determine what they will do with your claim.
- You don’t get to ask any questions, only give responses.
- You aren’t likely to get a copy.
- You won’t get a copy of the other parties’ recorded statements.
Basically, a recorded statement is not in your best interest—or in your interest at all. It is in the insurance company’s best interest. In my experience, the recorded statements are used to limit decisions on paying car repairs and medical bills, even when police reports may clearly state who is “at fault.” If you have further questions about this topic or other questions about your car wreck claim, please call and talk to Elizabeth directly at (512) 893-5700.