Read This before Giving a Recorded Statement
Colorado Springs Slip & Fall Law Firm
Learn about the use of recorded statements in your slip and fall claim. What you say may decrease your injury compensation, so know your options.
Any public or private area is at risk for a slip and fall incident; this includes hotels, grocery stores, homes, malls, and even the workplace.
A slip and fall claim can be filed with the property owner’s insurance carrier, who is responsible for your injuries.
To receive compensation for injuries sustained on someone else’s property, the injured party must first show that the property owner either intentionally or negligently caused or failed to eliminate a hazard.
It’s not uncommon for an insurance claims adjuster to call and request a recorded statement supporting your claim.
The claims adjuster may insist that you give a statement or convince you that legal representation is unnecessary. You should think long and hard about whether or not to give in to the adjuster’s demands before you do so.
You have the legal right to speak with a personal injury lawyer before interacting with the claims adjuster or giving a recorded statement.
You should not undervalue the significance of delivering your statement. Deciding to deliver a recorded statement on your own, without preparation, can harm your prospects of collecting fair compensation.
NO FEE UNLESS WE WIN
THIS IS HOW YOUR STATEMENT WILL BENEFIT THE INSURANCE COMPANY.
The insurance adjuster will utilize your recorded statement to comprehend the occurrence and your injuries from your point of view.
The adjuster then analyzes your recorded account with additional pieces of evidence. They will analyze police files, incident reports, medical records, and witness accounts, looking for any contradictions in your version of the events.
The amount of your settlement will be based partly on the accuracy of the information you supply and how it fits with the other materials submitted.
If you offer a statement that harms your claim, the insurance company will benefit by limiting your reward. Less money spent on your claim means more money the insurance company keeps.
Remember that a recorded statement is part of the permanent record for your slip and fall claim. The facts of the matter cannot be disputed once they have been recorded. For this reason, some adjusters could try to convince you to say things that would undermine your claim. They may attempt to throw you off your game or misrepresent what you’re saying.
Granted, some insurance adjusters can be polite and friendly. They might display real concern for your well-being and come across as empathetic to your injuries.
No matter how an adjuster acts, don’t let your guard down. A loss adjuster is not on your side. They aim to do what is best for the insurance company by dismissing your claim or paying you as little as possible.
This is why attorneys advise against making statements:
Unless they have legal representation, attorneys sometimes advise victims of injuries not to give a recorded statement to a claims adjuster. The average person lacks the legal training and expertise to understand how their actions might be used against them.
After it has been said, there is no way to take back a potentially damaging statement.
Adjusters who handle injury claims for insurers are trained in persuading claimants to make statements that hurt their cases.
To an adjuster’s question about how you’re doing today, you could reply, “Fine, thank you,” “Okay,” or “Good.” If you respond politely, the employer may infer that you either don’t have any injuries or that those you did have healed.
WITNESS TESTIMONY AND LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
There is no requirement to deliver a recorded statement before filing a case.
Your lawyer will summarize the information found in the filings. The attorney for the defendant will eventually call you in for a deposition when you have to answer questions under oath.
Depositions are a tool used by lawyers to obtain sworn testimony outside of court. Depositions are typically held when a lawsuit is filed and before a trial.
Each side can schedule a deposition to examine witnesses about the incident that resulted in the injury. The “deponent” is the individual who is answering the questions.
Your lawyer can take depositions from anyone who saw what happened, such as the store manager on duty when you collapsed. The store’s attorney has the same right to request a deposition from you as from any other witness or expert.
A deposition requires the services of a court reporter who will administer the oath and keep a record of the proceedings. During a deposition, lawyers on both parties can question the deponent and raise objections if necessary.
If you have an attorney present at your deposition, they can help prevent you from saying anything that could hurt your case. Also, your lawyer will brief you on what to expect in the deposition so you can be prepared.
AGREEMENTS AND STATEMENTS REPORTED IN WRITING
Claims arising from slips and falls are often resolved out of court. If your case is likely to conclude in a settlement, your lawyer will let you deliver a recorded statement in their presence.
Your lawyer can keep the adjuster from asking you anything that could hurt the value of your claim and prevent you from making any statements that could be used against you.
DECLARATION OF FALL AND SLIP
An insurance adjuster will be assigned to your slip-and-fall claim when you file it with the relevant insurance company. The adjuster will call you within a few days to request a recorded statement.
These announcements may be made on the spur of the moment or in advance. Typically, claimants will deliver their stories over the phone, though they may be willing to see you at a mutually agreeable location, including your home.
Get yourself covered if you elect to offer the adjuster a recorded statement. You should gently refuse to give an account or request an alternative time if you are not in a suitable mental, emotional, or physical state.
Do not make a statement now if you are:
- While taking specific drugs
- Physically suffering
The insurance adjustor may try to take advantage of you if you feel anxious or preoccupied.
USE CAUTION WHEN COMMUNICATING
Anything you tell the claims adjuster, whether you choose to make a statement or not, could affect your claim.
Consider representing yourself in an insurance claim. If you are responsible for handling your claim, choose your declaration.
Most adjusters will let you speak freely without interruption if you agree to give a recorded statement over the phone. The insurance company would like you to describe, in detail, what led to and followed your fall.
The adjuster may ask questions or demand explanations to weaken your claim.
Such difficult inquiries may include:
- “You seemed to be in a hurry as you entered the store.”
- So, you weren’t watching your step, huh?
- It’s icy out there; you do know that, right?
- “The ground looked moist, correct?”
These techniques attempt to mislead you into making statements that would lower your payments. It’s important to watch out for any attempts by the insurance adjuster to twist your words to increase the company’s payout.
When making a recorded statement, be as factual as possible. Do not:
- Think about it; guess; estimate
- Anything that isn’t directly relevant to your claim.
- Disclosure of private information:
- Make any statements or use any language you wouldn’t want a jury to hear
Create a timeline of the events before and after your slip and fall. An outline can help you remember to include important details and keep you on track.
If you kept a journal after your accident or injury, you could refer to that as you write your outline and deliver your testimony.
If the insurance adjuster calls and you aren’t prepared, just tell them you’ll need to reschedule.
PLAN OF A PROPOSED STATEMENT AS AN ILLUSTRATION
Make an effort to incorporate all the relevant details of your accident in the outline. Just say what you know in as few words as possible. Don’t ever try to second-guess or speculate. Arrange the information logically.
Ancillary to the decline:
- I walked into the shop at 6:00.
- I entered via the southwestern door, passed the bakery, and finally reached the dairy section.
- I was moving along normally when I realized the aisle was empty.
- In the absence of any aisle signs,
The accident with the fall:
- My right foot slid ahead as I got close to the milk cooler door.
- The weight of my body tipped backward.
- I crossed my left arm over my chest.
- After a fall, I landed on my hands and wrists.
- I had a damp feeling on the floor.
- My left wrist was hurting, and my fingers were numb.
Once on the ground:
- A passing sales associate came up to me and profusely apologized.
- The incident was captured on camera by the store’s surveillance system.
- The manager showed up, filled up a report, and left.
- The cops and paramedics came and brought me to the hospital.
PUT YOUR WORDS ON THE RECORD
Your legal right is to request a copy of your recorded statement or a transcribed version of your conversation with the adjuster. While they may be willing to help, they are under no obligation to do so.
You are allowed to make a recorded statement for yourself. Make sure the adjuster knows you intend to record your conversation with them.
If you make an audio recording of your own, you won’t have to worry about remembering your exact words or the details of how you described your ailments. The adjuster won’t be able to use your heated settlement negotiations as an excuse to misrepresent what you said if you record the conversation.
Numerous free apps exist for Android and iOS that will allow you to record the call on your smartphone. Put the phone on speaker and record the conversation if you have to.
Your argument is supported by the consistency of the responses you’ve gotten. When preparing for court, you can check your recorded statement to ensure you haven’t changed your story about what happened or how you were hurt.
DO YOU NEED TO MAKE A TAPED STATEMENT?
If you want your claim settled promptly or at all, the insurance adjuster may insist you give a recorded statement. Your responsibility to give a documented statement to the insurance adjuster is minimal.
You are not obligated to provide a recorded statement to the property or business owner’s insurance company because you are not a party to any agreement.
GIVING A STATEMENT IN WRITING
In most cases, you can submit a written report instead of giving an on-the-spot recorded statement. You can carefully consider your words and delivery when you put your thoughts into writing. Before sending it to the insurance company, you can take as much time as you need to read it and make any necessary changes.
When composing your statement, be sure to refer to your injury file.
POSSIBLE QUESTIONS FOR AN ADJUSTER
When deciding whether or not to give a recorded statement, it can be helpful to know what to expect.
The adjuster will introduce themselves and the date at the beginning of your recorded statement. During the claims process, the adjuster will ask for your personal information such as name, address, and phone number.
Insurance adjusters must prove that you consent to a taped interview before they may ask you questions regarding your slip-and-fall accident and injuries.
Documenting your approval for publication:
- Is this comment being recorded with your knowledge?
- Is it okay with you if I record your response to these questions?
- I’d want to record our chat, but I need your permission.
Inquiries into the details of the collision itself will begin after the aforementioned introductory remarks.
Inquiries regarding the function:
- For example: “Where exactly did you trip and fall?”
- Question: “What caused the fall?”
- When did this occur?
- Do any eyewitnesses exist?
- To what extent have you been hurt?
- Did someone dial 911?
- What happened to you at the scene?
Concerns regarding your possible role in the mishap:
- When the accident occurred, were you on the phone or otherwise preoccupied?
- Asked, “What did you do to keep from sliding and falling?”
- At the time of the incident, you were wearing what kind of shoes?
- Is it possible that the way you were dressed contributed to your fall?
- Can you recall any warnings or signs about potential hazards or damp carpeting?
- Has the area been sealed off?
- Have you received any vocal warnings from locals regarding potential threats?
The adjuster will likely ask you some personal questions.
- The question: “Did you go to the doctor following your fall?”
- You should ask yourself, “Have you used drugs or alcohol in the 24 hours before to your slip and fall?”
- Before this happened, how were you feeling?
- What do you do for a living?
- The common question is, “How much do you make?”
- Asking, “How are you doing right now?”
- Is there anything that has been bothering you for a while?
The adjuster may ask you the same question multiple times, but they may change the language each time. The insurance adjuster’s ultimate goal is to catch you in a contradiction.
After the claims adjuster has finished asking questions, you may be allowed to elaborate. This is your chance to fill us in on any information we may have missed. Keep your complaint or list of grievances focused on the specifics of your situation, and avoid venting.
To wrap up the recording, the adjuster will verify that the information you provided is accurate.
WHEN SEEKING PROFESSIONAL COUNSEL
If you’ve been seriously injured, you should always see a lawyer before filing a claim.
You should still consult an attorney before agreeing to give a recorded statement, even if your injuries were minimal. Talking to a qualified attorney about your injury case is usually free of charge because most firms in this area offer free initial consultations.
Hiring a lawyer eliminates the need for you to give a recorded statement or interact in any other way with the insurer. Your lawyer will typically work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they won’t be paid until they successfully settle your claim or win your case in court.
Do not wait for a phone call from a claims adjuster before deciding how to handle a recorded statement. You must be ready to assert your right to financial compensation if you have an injury.
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