Picture the following scenario. You have been injured in a car accident in Montgomery, Alabama and getting treated for your injuries. One fine day, a claims adjuster from the at-fault party’s insurance company calls you. They ask you for a recorded statement regarding the accident and tell you that it can expedite the claims process.
Sounds like a pretty reasonable proposition, right? They might even imply that this is a standard request that is needed in order to process your claim. But the truth is that giving a recorded statement could hurt your claim. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters are not on your side, and their primary motive is to minimize your claim for damages. For this reason, you should be skeptical about everything they tell you.
Are You Required to Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company?
The short answer is – no. Under Alabama law, you are not legally obligated to provide a recorded statement to the at-fault party’s insurance company. Also, not giving a recorded statement to the insurance company will not affect your chances of recovering compensation from the at-fault party. In fact, it can increase your chances of getting a fair settlement.
Why Is It Not Prudent to Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company?
There are several reasons why you should never give a formal statement to a claims adjuster or any other representative from the at-fault party’s insurance company. As we touched on earlier, the primary goal of insurance companies – as is the case with all business enterprises – is to protect their financial interests and increase their profit margins to the extent they can.
They do so by denying as many claims as possible and by paying out the lowest possible settlements on claims they accept. So, when you talk to an insurance company representative, you are not talking to someone who is looking out for you, but someone who is trying to protect the financial interests of their employer.
Secondly, and more importantly, a claims adjuster is not an average Joe with whom you can casually chat about your injuries. They are highly skilled professionals who work for your adversary – the other party’s insurer.
When a claims adjuster talks to you, their main goal is not to find out what actually happened. Instead, they want you to say or admit to something that can be used to reduce your settlement or deny your claim altogether. They will ask you loaded questions that are designed to make you respond in a way that can hurt your claim. In some cases, they might question you aggressively to get you to admit something that is not true.
Once they have the information they need, they will use it against you during the settlement negotiations. The same information can be used against you if your case goes to trial as well.
Alabama Follows the Harsh Law of Pure Contributory Negligence
Remember – Alabama follows the pure contributory negligence legal doctrine, under which you may lose out on your right to be compensated for your injuries and other losses if it is found that you were at fault – even to the slightest degree. Alabama is one of only a handful of states in the country that still follow the doctrine. This is why you should be extremely careful about who you talk to and what you say about the accident.
What Should You Do If an Insurance Adjuster Calls You?
If you have already hired an Alabama personal injury attorney, you can tell them that your attorney will contact them. If you have not hired an attorney, you can simply tell them that you cannot talk to them, and that you want to talk to an attorney first.
Choose the Right Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer to Fight for You
Frank Wilson, Attorney at Law fights hard for the rights of personal injury victims in Alabama. Attorney Wilson is highly knowledgeable with an in-depth understanding of Alabama’s personal injury laws, and he has successfully handled a wide range of complicated cases over the years.
Attorney Wilson knows how insurance adjusters investigate claims, what kind of tricks they use to reject, deny, or reduce the value of claims, and how they get unsuspecting plaintiffs to admit fault. He can communicate with them on your behalf, negotiate with them aggressively, and fight hard to make sure you are adequately compensated for the injuries, property damage, and other losses you suffered.
To discuss your case with a member of our legal team, call us today at (334) 420-2931 to schedule a free consultation.