Sometimes speaking with the at fault insurance company adjuster (or your own car insurance company) can hurt your case much more than it can help. Below are some reasons why speaking with an insurance adjuster after your accident can hurt a possible car accident settlement.
2 Types of Auto Insurance Adjusters: “Yours” and The Careless Drivers
After an auto accident, when considering whether to speak with an auto insurance adjuster, the first thing to know that there are 2 types of auto insurance adjusters. They are:
- 1rst Party adjusters (No Fault (“PIP”), Uninsured Motorist Insurance). Typically referred to as “Your insurance”; and
- 3rd Party insurance adjusters: The careless driver’s or premises’ insurance adjuster.
Insurance Adjusters are Nice, But They Aren’t Your Friend
Giving Away Too Much Info May Hurt Your Case
If you’re injured from a car crash, slip and fall or other type of accident, you should be VERY careful speaking with a liability adjuster. If you ramble on and on, you may misspeak and give the insurance company ammunition to deny your case.
Florida No-Fault Law Requires You to Give a Statement if Asked
In Florida, your auto insurer has the right to ask you to give a statement, even a recorded one.
Fla. Stat § 627.736(6)(g) says that an insured who wants benefits under the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law must comply with policy conditions. These provisions require the insured to submit to an examination under oath.
You should disregard the case of Nunez v. Geico General Insurance Company, 117 So.3d 388 (Fla. 2013), which stated that the No-Fault statute does not require an examination under oath, if required by the policy. Fla. Stat § 627.736(6)(g) overruled the Nunez case. Nunez is no longer good law.
You Have to Give a Recorded Statement if You’re Seeking PIP As a Resident Relative
Florida Uninsured Motorist Car Insurance Law Says You Must Give a Statement if Asked
If you are seriously hurt, you should consult an attorney before giving the recorded statement. One misspoken fact can decrease the settlement value of an uninsured motorist (“UM”) car insurance case by up to 75% in a matter of seconds.
You’re Entitled to Copy of Your Statement
You are entitled to a copy of both your recorded statement from either your PIP or UM insurer.
You May Have to Complete a Written Statement to Your Own Auto Insurer
If You’re Not Sure About Something, Don’t Guess
UM Insurer Pays $100,000 of $325,000; No Statement Given
After a car crash in Florida, many injured people pick up the phone and call the negligent driver or owner’s insurance company.
Careless Driver’s Insurer May Not Need Your Statement To Get You a Rental Car
Careless Driver’s Insurer May Not Need Your Statement To Get You a Rental Car
Don’t Expect Careless Driver to Quickly Pay Your Bills
Accident victims often want medical treatment, their medical bills paid, or they want to get paid for being unable to work. Be careful to not let your emotions get the best of you.
Don’t Expect Careless Driver to Quickly Pay Your Lost Wages
Motorcyclist Gets $445,000 for Finger and Leg Fracture; Doesn’t Give Statement
You Want to Know Which Cars Have Insurance Before Giving Statement
Sometimes the other driver or car owner does not notify his or her car insurance company of the crash. Their car insurer may ask you a series of questions about liability (how the crash happened) and your damages (medical treatment, bills, lost wages, etc.).
The claims intake person for the insurer will tell you that they need this info to get a claim setup.
Tip: We generally send a letter to the negligent party’s(ies’) auto insurers to set up the claim and find out his or her insurance information. Sometimes we call the adjuster, but we determine this on a case by case basis.
Warning: We generally do not discuss how the crash happened or your injuries with any of the potential defendants who you may realistically be able to collect from.
If the other driver or owner has already set up a claim with their insurer, then a claim number will have been assigned for your claim assuming the adjuster has a driver exchange of information or a crash report.
If a claim number has been assigned, the adverse party’s(ies) insurer(s) may ask you a series of questions about liability (how the crash happened) and your damages (medical treatment, bills, lost wages, etc.).
Tip: The only thing that I recommend doing is giving the negligent party’s adjuster a copy of the crash report and setting up a time for him or her to inspect your vehicle.
Warning: We generally do not discuss how the crash happened until we know about every potential defendant whom we may realistically be able to collect from.
Tip: If you were in a car and you were hit by another vehicle, you are NOT required to give the other driver or owner’s insurer a recorded statement. Don’t fall into the trap of the sweet talking adjuster who tells you they need one. It is totally untrue.
Sometimes one answer can be the difference between getting paid benefits under an insurance policy, and sometimes your answers will affect the value of a bodily injury or property damage claim. Your answers can give the insurance company a basis to deny you coverage.
Slip and Falls and Non-Auto Injury Claims
In a slip and fall case, I would NEVER give the liability insurer a recorded statement because you are not legally required to do so. It can only hurt your case. After I know all of the facts, I would consider giving the adjuster an unrecorded statement. You should exercise a huge amount of caution, even if you have been dealing with slip and fall and non-auto cases for over 10 years.
Recorded statement may be used against you.
Many people make the mistake of giving the other side’s insurance company a recorded statement.
Tip: You are NOT obligated to give the negligent person’s and/or company insurance a recorded statement.
In a personal injury cases, every single word of your testimony is very important.
It is very important to remember for you not give the other side’s insurance company a statement until you are finished (or close to being finished) with treatment for your injuries from the accident.
The only statement that you may want to give the other insurance company is an unrecorded statement. It may help the adjuster document your claim. Most claims do not require giving a statement to the other party’s insurance carrier.
Some injured people give a recorded statement to the adverse driver or owner’s insurance company before they even know the amount of available bodily injury limits. This can hurt your case, for example, if you were hit from behind.
The adjuster may try to misconstrue your words if you give a recorded statement stating that you felt 2 impacts.
If it later turns out that the car directly behind you did not have enough insurance to pay for your injuries, you may have just reduced the value of your claim by the percentage % of the fault for which the car directly behind was responsible.
You don’t want the liability adjuster to misconstrue your words.
Does an insurance company have to give you a copy of your recorded statement?
Did someone’s carelessness cause your injury in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise or boat?
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Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled, including but not limited to car accidents, truck accidents, slip or trip and falls, motorcycle accidents, drunk driving (DUI) accidents, pedestrian accidents, taxi accidents, bicycle accidents, store or supermarket accidents, cruise ship accidents, dog bites, wrongful death and much more.
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Our Miami law firm represents people anywhere in Florida if someone’s carelessness caused their injuries in car accidents, truck accidents, slip, trip and falls, motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, drunk driving crashes, pedestrian accidents, cruise ship or boat accidents, store or supermarket accidents, wrongful death, accidents at an apartment complex, condo building or home, accidents involving a Uber or Lyft Driver, and many other types of accidents.
We want to represent you if you were hurt in an accident in Florida, on a cruise ship or boat. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2011 and has been completely revamped and updated.