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Do I Have to Give a Recorded Statement After a Car Accident?

Do not agree to give a recorded statement to any insurance companies.  This is true for both your own insurance company and the other person’s insurance company.  Frequently, defendant’s insurance carriers will attempt to coax an answer out of you that will later harm your recovery.  Such questions include, “Did you see the other party coming at you?” or “Did you have time to avoid being hit by the other party?”  These two questions could potentially harm your recovery based upon your answer.  There are hundreds of different questions that they could ask you that could affect your claim.  Their goal is to make it harder for you to get back the money you are owed.  Therefore, don’t agree to any recorded statements.

Recordings of your statements are admissible as admissions by a party opponent—in this case—that’s you.  There is next to nothing we can do as your attorneys to stop that evidence from coming into trial.  Such statements, when recorded and played back for a judge are very powerful instruments of destruction.  Therefore, NEVER AGREE TO A RECORDED STATEMENT WITH AN INSURANCE COMPANY.

What should you do if they ask for a recorded statement, say “No, my attorney has instructed me not to make any such statements.”  That will trigger two things: first, it notifies them that they cannot record your statements (even if they say the conversation may be recorded); and second, it informs them that you have an attorney.  Once they know you have an attorney, they can’t discuss any part of your matter until we, your attorneys, give the insurance company permission.  If they ignore your request and continue to ask you questions but say that they won’t record it, nothing you provide them can be used against you.  Telling the insurance company that you have an attorney is the single most powerful thing you can do to enforce your rights against an insurance provider.

Next, get an attorney, tell us what has occurred, and we will help you understand the very tricky legal landscape that within which you have found yourself.  The insurance companies have attorneys on their side working for them.  You need us to balance out those scales of justice in your favor.  Once we are working for you, we will similarly instruct every insurance company working on your case to not discuss any matter with you.  They will then only communicate with our office.  If they have a question that we can’t answer, your attorneys will ask you for more information.  But, remember, it’s always better that information come from your attorneys and not you directly, as we have the expertise and experience to know how to provide answers properly to the insurance companies.

What if you did give a recorded statement to the insurance company before you contacted Johnston Martineau? Don’t worry.  Once you have retained our services, we will contact the insurance company and request a transcript of your conversation.  We will then review the transcript and look for anything that could possibly damage your chances of recovery.  If we do find something, we will verify the statement with you and request more information from you.  Usually, that extra information you provide will be enough to fix any unfavorable phrases in the recorded statement.  A good attorney knows, that there is next to nothing that can’t be fixed through client communication and hard work.  That’s why you hired Johnston Martineau—we have the experience with insurance companies in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, and many other states.

What should you do if you feel compelled to give a recorded statement even after you told them you have an attorney?  You have two options 1) hang up the phone AND 2) While you’re being recorded, immediately say, “My attorney told me not to give a recorded statement.” Every time they ask you a question, your only response should be, “I have an attorney.  Did he tell you that you could ask me these questions?” If the questions continue, then hang up and call us!  We will immediately request a copy of the transcript and notify the proper Iowa Insurance Division to investigate the matter.  It is a serious offense for the insurance companies to try and manipulate you, the victim of a serious injury.  In addition, this will help us to levy possible sanctions against the other party’s insurance company.  Such sanctions include bad faith filings and expedited settlement.