Your insurance policy typically requires you to give a statement to your insurance company as part of the investigative process. So, in all likelihood, you are required to give a statement to your insurance company.
Shortly after the accident, you’re going to get a phone call or be contacted by an insurance company, and the insurance company may be the adjuster for the at-fault driver. They’re going to tell you that they need to take a sworn statement right away. The sworn statement is also called an examination under oath or EUO. They’re going to tell you that this is very important in order to be able to pay you the benefits that you may be entitled to in connection with any kind of claim. The issue is whether you’re obligated to talk to the other driver’s insurance company, and the answer’s actually no.
Now, they’ll still try to get you to agree to do the sworn statement by saying they want to take down the information while it’s still fresh in your memory, that it’s important that they do so in order to pay you for your medical bills in connection with the accident, but the reality is that they’re going to try to get as much information from you that they may be able to use at a later time against you in a court of law. So, the long and short of it is that you are not obligated to talk to them in fact it may be against your best interest to do so. Now I know that everyone wants to tell their story and they want to make sure their medical bills are paid. Those things can still happen, but perhaps not in the context of giving the other driver’s insurance company a sworn statement. What you really want to do is talk to an attorney about what your legal rights are and whether you must talk to them.
Therefore, I’d encourage you to contact an experienced attorney to discuss your legal rights. Most attorneys will give you a free case evaluation, and you don’t have to pay an hourly rate in order to understand what you must do. Talking to the other driver’s insurance company and giving a sworn statement when you’re under no obligation to do so, and especially without an attorney present, is a common mistake that people make in connection with car accident cases.
Certainly, anything you say in a recorded statement can impact your case, and may ultimately come back to haunt you later down the road. For example, let’s say that the agent contacted you immediately after the accident, and wanted you to make a statement the day after the accident. Let’s say, the agent asked you if you were injured in the accident, and you told them, “Yes, I was injured, but I’m not too badly injured. I feel kind of okay right now.” But, it turns out, several days later, you’re in much more pain, and you realize that your injuries are much more significant. If you make a claim later down the road for those injuries that you realized were much more significant several days after the accident, then the statement that you made the day after the accident that your injuries were not too significant, can have a major impact on how they evaluate your case. For these reasons, we recommend that you have an attorney to either sit with you or advise you on your rights before providing a recorded statement.