The insurance company wants a written statement about my car accident. Should I give one?
As a general rule, it’s usually not a good idea to give a written or recorded statement to an insurance adjuster or investigator after a car accident. Of course, the other driver’s adjuster is going to tell you that they would like such a statement from you, and they may even stop just short of telling you that you’re required to give them a recorded or written statement. But the truth is that there is no law that requires it. What’s more, giving a written or recorded statement won’t usually help your side of the case, but it can end up hurting it.
(Learn more about What to Expect in an Interview with an Insurance Adjuster.)
Keep in mind that we’re talking about giving a written or recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance carrier. When it comes to conversations with your own car insurance company (including carriers in no-fault car insurance states), you’re contractually required to cooperate with their investigation and processing of your claim, and that obligation likely includes giving a statement in whatever format the carrier prefers.
But back to the scenario in which the adjuster for the other driver calls you up and asks to record your statement, or they ask you to write out written answers to their questions. These questions can range from the general to the very specific, and they can resemble a treasure hunt.
What direction were you heading in? How fast were you going? When did you first notice our insured’s vehicle? How long had the traffic signal been green/yellow/red? Did anyone else witness the accident? What was the weather like? Had you taken any over-the-counter or prescription medications the day of the accident? Had you consumed any alcoholic beverages the day of the accident? Where was your smart phone when the accident happened? Did anything happen earlier in the day to make you upset?
You get the idea. The point is, the adjuster is at least trying to pin you down to one answer so that he or she can drum up and inconsistency or two later. It would be even better for the adjuster if you were to say something halfway incriminating that can be pounce upon later as “proof” that you were at fault or that the accident didn’t happen the way you say it did.