Shulman DuBois LLC
1553 Southeast Tolman Street, Portland, OR 97202
Read more about insurance adjusters and recorded statements:
"We get a lot of calls from people who want to know what they should tell the insurance adjuster.
The first thing you need to understand is that there are at least two insurance adjusters involved and the answer is different depending on which one you're talking to. The insurance adjusters can be pretty aggressive, so this is why we get calls: because people have gotten 12 calls over the course of week or two and they want to know what to say.
There are two insurance companies involved in any car crash. There is your insurance company, which provides you with personal injury protection PIP (sometimes called PIP) and there is the other insurance company for the driver who hit you. Now you deal with these two very differently.
Your insurance company: you need to cooperate with to a certain extent because they're going to pay up to $15,000 of your medical bills. But in order to do that, you need to fill out their forms and answer their questions. Now the one thing I would say with your own insurance company, even they're supposed to be on your side is, Don't give them a recorded statement. Now the reason for this is that a recorded statement can only be used against you. It can never been used in your favor.
Sometimes your insurance company is going insist on it. Some of them do that sometimes without real rhyme or reason, and if they do it puts you in a tough spot, because if you refuse they may stop paying your medical benefits. In fact with our clients, when that happens, we have a tough decision to make. What we sometimes do is say, "Okay, we will let our client give a recorded statement but I, the lawyer, am going be sitting in the room with them and if you ask them any inappropriate questions I'm going to put a stop to it and advise them."
If you don't have a lawyer you've got a tough situation, because they're going to use the recorded statements against you — but if you don't give it, they're going to stop paying your medical bills. If you have health insurance that's not necessarily the end of the world, because if your auto insurance stops paying your medical bills (because you won't give a recorded statement) your health insurance will usually pick up the slack. If you don't have health insurance, you're really in a tough spot.
Now let's switch gears. If the insurance company for the person who hit you calls you up, my advice is just hang up the phone. You do not need to speak with them. I advise people who are going to try and settle the case themselves: Do as much of it as you can in writing. In particular, anything they say, get it in writing. If they make you an offer, get it in writing. If they threaten you, which they sometimes will do on the phone, get it in writing. If you insist upon talking with them on the phone, and negotiating that way, do not let them record you. I have seen cases ruined by recorded statements, and I know that you're planning to only tell the truth, but you have to understand these insurance adjusters have been doing this a long time; they know a lot of tricks and even though you think you're just going to stick to the truth, they will ask you tricky questions that you can't anticipate and you'll stutter and stammer and then you'll answer one way or another and then if they ever play that at trial it just it makes you look bad. So please, don't give a recorded statement to the other insurance company and don't give a recorded statement to your own insurance company unless you really have to."