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An accident with a commercial truck can involve more crash factors than a typical case. One thing they have in common, however, is that as a victim, you should be careful what you say to the at-fault party’s insurance company. The truck driver’s insurance company will not be on your side during claim negotiations. Instead, they may want to downplay your injuries, downsize your settlement, or deny your claim. If the truck driver’s insurance company asks you to give a recorded statement after the wreck, here is what to do.
Who Is an Insurance Claims Adjuster?
Upon receiving your claim, the truck driver’s insurance company will assign someone called an insurance claims adjuster to your case. The adjuster may work for the insurance provider or a different company. The adjuster’s job is to review your accident, investigate fault and resolve your claim. Every adjuster will try to minimize claimants’ payout for the good of the insurance company. It is for this reason you must be careful when discussing your claim or giving recorded statements to claims adjusters.
Why Does the Adjuster Want a Statement?
A recorded statement is a documented version of events from your point of view. The insurance adjuster will ask if he or she can record you as you tell your story. He or she will listen and record you as you explain what happened, usually over the phone. Your version of events will go on record for the adjuster and insurance company to use as they wish. The adjuster may say he or she will use your statement to get a clearer picture of the claim. However, the adjuster also has an ulterior motive for getting a recorded statement: to use it against you later.
Giving a truck driver’s insurance company a recorded statement could be giving the provider evidence to use against you. It is common for victims not to have all the information about a case. You may be missing important details, such as the fact that the truck driver was over his or her hours of service regulations. Your statement, therefore, will likely be incomplete and one-sided. You may say something that unintentionally places the blame with you when the wreck was the truck driver’s fault.
Since you agreed to give a recorded statement, the insurance company will have your exact words to use against you during settlement negotiations or a court case later. Common statements such as apologizing for the crash, admitting to not wearing a seatbelt, getting the facts wrong or saying you did not have any injuries could significantly hurt your odds of securing compensation. The insurance company could use your statement as proof that you contributed to the crash or otherwise do not deserve insurance benefits.
Could Your Statement Bar You From Recovery?
Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning you will not automatically lose your right to financial recovery if you were partially responsible for the truck accident, as long as you were less than 50% at fault. Saying the wrong thing during a recorded statement, however, could diminish your recovery award. The courts in Georgia may award you less in financial compensation if it believes you contributed to the crash. The less you say during conversations with the claims adjuster, the better.
What Should You Do Instead?
If a truck driver’s insurance company asks you to give a recorded statement during phone conversations, explain that you wish to learn more about the accident first. Politely decline to let the adjuster record your statement. Then, call a truck accident lawyer for counsel. An attorney may be able to investigate your truck accident and give you more information, such as potential proof of the truck driver’s negligence. A lawyer can also give you tips for how to talk to claims adjusters without hurting your case, such as requesting that the adjuster does not record your statement.