With negligence cases involving obvious fault, such as where a drunk driver runs a stop sign and causes a T-Bone collision, the insurance adjuster is not likely to conduct much of an investigation. If, however, there is an indication that your actions may have caused the accident, or even that you were in any small part to blame for your own injuries, the adjuster may want to take your “recorded statement.” This is an interview by the adjuster where your answers are digitally recorded. It is important to remember, though, that the job of adjuster is to limit the exposure of his or her employer. The goal will be to show that you were at-fault. For that reason, you should think long and hard about whether to consent to any such statement. This is particularly true in North Carolina, where our courts continue to follow the contributory negligence rule. This harsh principle holds that if you were even 1% at-fault for your injuries, you are not entitled to a recovery. If you slip up and misstate something during a recorded statement, you can be sure the adjuster will deny your claim and waive the recorded statement around in an effort to justify the denial of your claim.
Most lawyers advise against giving a recorded statement. Anything that can be discovered from a recorded statement can be learned just as easily without the recording. The insurance adjuster just wants the recording to be sure they have proof if you slip-up or they confuse you with an ambiguous question. Even though you may have nothing to hide, the insurance adjuster isn’t held to the same ethical standards in asking questions as a defense lawyer is. You should ask the adjuster why the recording is needed if the interview is just for investigative purposes.
The best thing you can do after an insurance adjuster asks for a recorded statements is to call a lawyer. In many cases, it means liability may be in question. If the adjuster gains some admission that they believe shows you were even somewhat at-fault, your claim can be denied completely. Many personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and evaluations and it never hurts to speak with a professional. If you are going to try to handle your claim on your own, you should typically resist giving a recorded statement. You may consider giving the adjuster permission to take notes without recording the statement. If the adjuster continues to insist on the recorded statement, you should discuss the claim with a lawyer who may be able to provide some insight.
The Raleigh automobile accident and personal injury lawyers of Maginnis Law regularly assist clients with difficult liability cases. If you have been asked to give a recorded statement, our attorneys would be happy to discuss the facts of your claim with you. To speak with Raleigh accident lawyer Shawn Howard, call Maginnis Law at 919.480.8526. To speak with Ed Maginnis call 919.526.0450. You can also send a confidential email using our contact page.
Maginnis Law offers competitive contingency fee arrangements and regularly handles cases for clients throughout North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, Apex, Garner, Holly Springs, Wake Forest, and Zebulon.