“You have a right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…” -Opening statement of Miranda Rights.These rights apply to someone under arrest, but after a motor vehicle accident, the same sentiment applies to you.
If you are in a serious motor vehicle accident and any insurance company attempts to make you record a verbal statement, you do not have to do so before speaking to a lawyer. In fact, recording a statement can, and probably will, be used against your personal injury case.
Required to record?
Insurance companies often use verbal recorded statements as an alternative, or in addition to, a written statement after an accident. They do this to have a record of your version of events for their files.
Keep in mind that North Carolina is one of four states that use pure contributory negligence to determine personal injury settlement. This means that if you are injured, and the other party can prove that you were at least 1% at fault, you may not be entitled to any damages.
The easiest way for them to do this is if you admit to somehow being at fault, even in an extremely small way.
Your own insurance company may require that you give a recorded statement before you can proceed with any number of steps related to your claim. If your insurance company has this policy you must comply, but not before you speak to your lawyer.
You have the right to speak with your attorney before giving any recorded statement, however brief.
Beware of phone calls
If they were unable to get your statement at the scene of the accident, the insurance company may call you. At the beginning of these calls they will give a very brief, very fast statement to inform you that the call may be monitored.
You should assume that you are being recorded on these calls. Anything you mention about your injuries, how you are feeling, and any opinion surrounding the accident could be used against your case. You do not want to jeopardize your claim as some injuries take time to show symptoms, and opinions can be used as facts.
Insurance companies will use any number of tactics to make you admit that you were somehow at fault in your personal injury case. Know your rights and avoid these tricks and ultimately win what you are owed.