After a car accident in Georgia, an insurance representative may contact you and ask for a statement. He or she may claim that this statement will help you secure compensation faster. However, it is important to remember that an insurance adjuster is not always on your side—and if he or she asks for a recorded statement, you should proceed with caution.
The Insurance Claims Process in Georgia
Georgia is a fault accident state, which means that victims in car accidents have two options to secure compensation: they can file an insurance claim, or they can file a personal injury lawsuit. Within the insurance process, victims can file a claim against the at-fault driver, or they can file a claim under their own insurance if they have the appropriate coverage.
When you file an insurance claim, the company will assign a representative, known as an adjuster, to your case. The adjuster will conduct an independent investigation into the accident in order to determine who caused it. You will need to supply evidence and may need to engage in negotiations with the adjuster to settle your case.
You are not required to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company, but the adjuster may ask for one anyway. The purpose of this statement is for the adjuster to hear, in your own words, how the accident occurred. However, you may not know all of the facts about your injury at this stage in your case, and you may make a statement that you later discover to be untrue.
It is important to remember that an insurance adjuster’s priority is to protect the company’s bottom line. It is not in the company’s best interests to provide maximum compensation. The adjuster could use any discrepancy in your statement, no matter how small, to justify a lower settlement.
Tips for Providing a Statement to an Insurance Company
You are under no legal obligation to provide a statement to an insurance company. You have the right to refuse the request and speak to an attorney. If you do find yourself in this situation, the following tips can help you navigate the statement without harming your future claim.
Always speak to your lawyer before speaking with an insurance company. Follow his or her advice carefully while participating in these discussions.
Remember that the insurance adjuster has different motivations from your own. You want to recover maximum compensation; the adjuster likely wants to minimize the compensation that the company has to pay. Stay guarded throughout the statement.
Ask that the company not record your statement. If the adjuster records the statement, he or she will have a detailed record to compare any future statements and identify discrepancies.
Keep your answers brief and do not volunteer any additional information. Try to answer each question in as few words as possible; this will minimize the chances of a misstatement that could harm your claim.
Never admit fault or claim that you do not have any injuries. You may not know all of the details about the accident or your damages at this stage of your case. If you do not know the answer to a question, say that you do not know.
Navigating discussions with an insurance company can be a risky, sensitive process. If you are in an accident in Georgia, you need an attorney who can advocate for your right to compensation, handle discussions with the insurance company on your behalf, and prepare you for each stage of your case. Contact a Georgia personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.