Slip and fall accidents can occur in nearly any location; malls, workplaces, hotels, grocery stores, government buildings, hospitals, and even personal property. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident on property belonging to someone else, you can file an injury claim with their insurance company. After taking this necessary step, you should prepare yourself for a phone call from the insurance company claims adjuster. They may seem friendly or even concerned about your well-being, but they are good actors and have a mission in mind. The adjuster will likely ask you for a recorded statement. It might catch you off guard, but what should you do?
Recorded Statements: Who Benefits?
A recorded statement is a way for the insurance company to understand how the slip and fall occurred, and the extent of your injuries in your own words. While many injured parties are relieved to be able to explain what happened to someone who can help them, don’t be deceived.
After you give a recorded statement, they will compare the information you gave them to other pieces of evidence such as:
- Police reports
- Incident reports
- Medical records
- Witness statements
They will look for any inconsistencies in your recorded account of the events. If they find inconsistencies, they will leverage them to pay less for your claim.
It is the insurance companies who really benefit from recorded statements. Remember that they are not in business to pay everyone handsomely, or even fairly for their injuries. They are in business to make money. The more money they pay on your slip and fall claim, the less money they can keep for themselves.
Insurance Adjuster Tactics During Recorded Statements
It’s common for insurance adjusters to reach out as soon as possible in the hopes that they can speak to you before you speak to a South Carolina personal injury attorney. If they accomplish this, they are more likely to get a recorded statement from you, more likely to get you to hurt your claim with what you say, and more likely to get you to accept a low and unreasonable settlement.
Not only is the insurance adjuster for your claim looking for you to say something that doesn’t match up with another version of the events, but they also want you to mess up in other ways too. Most adjusters will let you speak as much as you want, hoping your uninterrupted words will reveal something that will decrease the value of your claim.
Insurance adjusters are also well-known for asking trick questions during recorded statements. Your adjuster will likely deliberately ask you leading questions or request lengthy explanations. Watch out for questions and statements like:
- “So, you weren’t looking where you were going?”
- “It sounds like you were in a hurry when you entered the hotel lobby.”
- “You did realize the floor had just been mopped, didn’t you?”
- “You saw the mop bucket in the corner, right?”
Is Giving a Recorded Statement Mandatory?
An insurance adjuster might call you and ask for a recorded statement on the spot. They might tell you that you have to give such a statement so that your claim can be processed or that if you don’t give one, your claim will not be processed as quickly.
In most situations, you are not legally obligated to give them a recorded statement if it is a third-party claim. You are not contractually obligated to them as you would be your own insurance company.
Instead, you have the right to:
- Provide a written statement instead
- Speak to a South Carolina personal injury attorney
- Ask them to call back at a later time
Providing a written statement is beneficial for many injured parties as it gives them the opportunity to think about what they want to say and how they want to say it. It can be edited as many times as need be before it is handed over to the insurance adjuster. This way, the insurance adjuster cannot try to get you to slip up when giving your statement.
When you meet with a South Carolina personal injury attorney, they can evaluate your claim and advise you as to if it would be worthwhile to have legal representation. If you hire them, the insurance company can no longer contact you directly. They must go through your attorney instead. Your attorney can help you to avoid making statements that could hinder your claim for fair compensation.
If the insurance adjuster called at a bad time or caught you off guard and you want to talk to them, you also have the right to ask them to call back at a prearranged time.
What if You Give a Recorded Statement After a Slip and Fall Injury?
Generally, it is better to politely decline to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. No matter how nice or irritated they might seem, be cordial, and hold your ground. If you decide to give a recorded statement, be sure not to:
- Mention anything not directly related to your claim
- Discuss your personal life
- Make statements or use language that you wouldn’t want a judge and jury members to hear
- Estimate or guess
If you have already given a recorded statement before speaking to a well-versed lawyer, all is not lost. Speak to one as soon as possible. If you said anything potentially detrimental to your claim, they might be able to help. The sooner they know about it, the better.
Call Today to Meet with One of Our Experienced Attorneys Before Giving a Recorded Statement
After experiencing a preventable slip and fall injury due to the actions or inactions of someone else, you want and deserve to be fairly compensated. An insurance adjuster asking for a recorded statement after your accident can get in the way of you receiving the compensation you are entitled to. Speak to a South Carolina personal injury attorney first.
At McCravy Law, we serve personal injury clients from six different locations in South Carolina, including Anderson, Greenwood, Greenville, Laurens, Spartanburg, and Saluda. Call us today at (864) 388-9100 to speak with our intake specialist or chat with us online.