California Insurance Code § 2071 puts forth the authority that gives fuel to the insurance companies in seeking a recorded statement. Often times, adjusters will push on getting a recorded statement from the offset of a claim. However, providing a recorded statement to your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company could be detrimental to your case. Here are some common misconceptions about recorded statements:
- Do I have to give a recorded statement to my own insurance company?
Yes. Insurance companies have a duty to investigate a claim. Recorded statements from their insured, witnesses, the other party, in addition to gathering photographs, police reports, medical records, etc. is part of their investigation. The insurance policy may also have a clause requiring the insured to comply in their investigation and provide a recorded statement in addition to other documents. Refusal to provide a recorded statement or obstructing their investigation could be grounds for denying the claim. The witness should always check the policy.
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- Do I need to provide a recorded statement to the at-fault party’s insurance company?
No. There is no requirement to provide a recorded statement to the at-fault party’s insurance company prior to filing a lawsuit and attending a deposition. However, under certain circumstances, it may be beneficial to provide a recorded statement. Any delay in the insurance companies’ investigation could also delay payment of your claim. But always be cautious.
WAIT! Can they just ask me anything?!
No. Recorded statements are often used to aid in determining liability and revolves around the facts of the collision. The witness should always clarify during the recorded statement that they are providing a statement only for the purposes of determining liability and only to the facts of the collision. Do not get bullied into providing additional unnecessary information or providing a medical opinion regarding your injuries. This may be used against you. Depending on the policy, if you are providing a statement to your own insurance, you may have to provide additional information about your injuries.
- Am I entitled to a copy of my recorded statement?
Yes. Your own insurance will provide a copy if the request is made prior to giving a recorded statement. The at-fault insurance company must also provide a copy. Pre-litigation recorded statements are not made before the insurance company retains an attorney and are taken by an adjuster, not an attorney. Therefore, the recorded statement is not work product and a copy must be provided. See Wilson v. Superior Court of Los Angeles Cty. (1964) 226 Cal.App.2d 715, 724.
- WARNING: The Uninsured/Underinsured Trap
Beware. Providing a recorded statement to the at-fault insurance company may be detrimental to your claim, but even providing a recorded statement to your own insurance company can also be detrimental. Most drivers carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. These policies go in effect when the at-fault party does not have insurance or when your damages exceeds the policy of the at-fault party. If the coverage applies, your own insurance company steps into the same position of the at-fault party and may need to pay out on the claim. Adjusters are trained to be prepared for these situations. Their questions during the recorded statement will be tailored to investigating facts in order to deny the uninsured/underinsured coverage. The recorded statement will later be used against you.
The decision is not as simple as it sounds.
Lawyers are not experts in math but they are experts in the law. Determining whether it is beneficial to your claim to provide a recorded statement requires an examination of your collision. Any delay can also cause a delay in settling your claim.
It is important to understand your rights and know when to provide a recorded statement. It is just as important to consult an attorney in your state to understand these rights. Do not wait, never hesitate, and reach out to a professional who is ready to work for you.
Jonathan Bakhsheshian, Esq.
jbakhesq [at ] gmail.com
Direct line: (310) 363-0551
Location: Los Angeles, CA 91403
Consultation: Free - 60 minutes
Tel: (310) 363-0551
Email: jonathan [ at ] ellisbakh.com
Jonathan Bakhsheshian , Esq.
is an associate attorney at Ellis & Bakh, LLP where he specializes in wrongful death and catastrophic injury litigation.
He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles and earned his Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University School of Law. At Pepperdine, Jonathan was the Lead Articles Editor of the Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal and a lead member of the negotiations and mediations Team. He competed in several nationwide and international negotiation and mediation competitions. Jonathan continued his studies at the number one, nationally-ranked Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and obtained his Masters in Dispute Resolution.
In addition to his classroom training, Jonathan externed for the United States District Court, Central District of California; United States Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice; Honorable Judge Robert Kwan, Bankruptcy Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California; Los Angeles Superior Court; and for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
Jonathan is dedicated to the principal and philosophy that every injured victim is entitled to the best representation, regardless of their personal financial status or complexity of their case. Jonathan prides himself on being a tough, creative, and fair legal advocate for all of his clients.
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