When filing a claim and giving a statement to the insurance company, it is crucial to think before you speak.
Insurance adjusters and lawyers alike are trained to pick up on key words or phrases that may shift the determination of blame during an open case.
Though it is common to want to thoroughly explain every detail when giving a statement, try to stick to declarative statements regarding only the facts. As explained in number two of Yahoo’s post “9 Things Never to Say to Your Insurance Company”, describing your injury as whiplash after an accident instead of explaining you have neck pain can make a huge difference. “Whiplash” will put an insurance company on high alert and cause them to prepare for legal counsel. Declaring neck pain, however, leaves room to be fully diagnosed by a medical professional. Being aware of these key words or phrases can be the difference between an easy claims process and having to deal with litigation. By only disclosing what is necessary, you will protect yourself against giving someone a reason to fight or deny your claim.
Providing a recorded statement is equally fraught with peril. As attorneys, we have rarely seen or heard a recorded statement where every word that a client spoke can be understood. Some adjusters or attorneys who handle recorded statements will also ask leading questions, suggest answers and generally direct the way the conversation is going to go without giving you an opportunity to explain everything – or worse, you might inadvertently say something that is not accurate because you are still under stress.
Hiring an attorney often shields you from giving a recorded statement and may make the difference between a very small settlement and a much better one.