Should I Give My Own Insurance a Recorded Statement After an Accident in Virginia?

A woman giving her insurance company a recorded statement after a car accident in Virginia.

After being injured in a car accident in Virginia, you’ll likely need to notify your insurance company about the crash – even if it wasn’t your fault. It’s essential to be cautious when speaking with the insurance representatives you contact.

While “your” insurance company is theoretically on your side, in reality, you still need to be careful about what you say in any statement after an accident. If you don’t watch what you say, your words could come back to bite you later on. That’s true regardless of whether the statement was recorded or written down.

The Richmond car accident lawyers at Marks & Harrison are here to help if you’ve recently been in a car accident. We’re a third-generation firm that’s been helping people with personal injury cases for more than a century. We have 26 attorneys at our firm and an extensive support staff system, giving us the resources to tackle even the toughest cases. With our help, our clients have recovered millions of dollars for their injuries.

Get a free consultation by calling one of our offices or visiting our contact page now.

Giving a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Adjuster: What Could Go Wrong?

Generally speaking, you should avoid making a recorded statement to any insurance adjuster after an accident, even if it’s a statement to your insurer. The main reason for this is because recorded statements are inherently less precise than a written statement.

It’s all too easy to say the wrong thing or use the wrong word in a recorded statement, only for an insurance company to turn around and use those words against you later on. You may also inadvertently use overly casual or familiar phrases in a recorded statement that can get you into trouble.

Why Does My Insurance Company Need a Recorded Statement?

Your insurance company may not need a recorded statement at all. While most insurance companies generally require you to cooperate with them after an accident, the statement does not necessarily have to be recorded. You may be able to provide a written statement instead, in which case you can be much more careful and precise about the words you use.

To fully protect yourself from any possible mistakes and give yourself the best chance at recovering fair compensation for your injuries, you should speak with a car accident lawyer before providing any statement to any insurer.

Insurance companies want a recorded statement because it’s typically much easier and faster to get someone to describe an accident orally than it is to wait for them to submit a written statement. A recorded statement allows insurance companies to move through the claims process more quickly, but it carries risks for anyone involved in the accident.

Any recorded statement you make to your insurer could potentially be used by the other driver’s insurer against you – especially if you aren’t careful about what you say.

What Should You NOT Say to Your Insurance Company After an Accident in VA?

Here are some things to avoid saying to your insurance company if you make a statement after an accident:

  • Don’t say “I’m sorry” or anything else that could be taken as an admission of fault. While most of us understand how saying “I’m sorry” after an accident means you’re sorry the accident occurred and not that you’re admitting fault, you don’t want to give an insurer any potential ammunition to use against you.
  • Don’t say you weren’t hurt in the crash. Delayed injuries are common in car accidents. If you say you were uninjured and it turns out you were injured in some way, you’ll likely have serious trouble recovering compensation for your injuries. Downplaying the seriousness of your injuries could also cause problems later on.
  • Don’t answer questions if you aren’t sure of the answer. Saying the wrong thing in a statement can easily come back to haunt you when you’re trying to recover compensation for your injuries. If you don’t know or aren’t sure of the answer to a question, just say you don’t know and leave it at that.
  • Don’t speculate about who or what caused the accident. Stick the basic facts of what occurred. Don’t guess about things you don’t know for sure.
  • Don’t agree to release your medical records. While you can use your medical records to substantiate your case, you want to be extremely careful about what information is released to the insurance company. Don’t agree to turn over any documents without speaking to an attorney first.

What Happens If You Don’t Tell Your Insurance About an Accident?

Most insurance companies require you to inform them of an accident within a specific time, usually a few days or weeks. Failure to do so could prevent you from recovering compensation for your injuries.

Notifying your insurer about an accident does not mean you have to give an official statement about what happened. Hold off on providing any statement until you’ve had a chance to talk to a lawyer.

How a Lawyer Can Help You Deal with Insurance Companies in Virginia

It’s always a good idea to speak to an attorney when dealing with insurance companies. A knowledgeable and experienced lawyer can help you give the insurance companies the information they need while ensuring nothing you say jeopardizes your right to compensation for your injuries.

In many cases, an attorney can take care of all your communications needs and settlement negotiations on your behalf while you rest and focus on healing.

Get Help from Our Virginia Car Accident Lawyers

The Virginia car accident attorneys at Marks & Harrison know how challenging it can be to deal with insurance companies after an accident. We want to help you. With our experience and knowledge on your side, you can rest easy knowing you have a dedicated advocate fighting to seek the compensation you deserve.

Get your free case review by calling one of our offices or visiting our contact page.

Bryan L. Meadows is the Managing Attorney of Marks & Harrison's Fredericksburg office, where he concentrates his practice in the area of personal injury law. A graduate of Christopher Newport University and the Penn State University School of Law, Bryan served as the Managing Attorney of GEICO's Staff Counsel in Roanoke prior to joining Marks & Harrison. He is licensed to practice in Virginia state courts and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia. Additionally, Bryan has served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Brain Injury Association of Virginia and as President of the Salem/Roanoke County Bar Association.