THE MCMILLIAN LAW FIRM - PROVIDING AGGRESSIVE AND COMPASSIONATE LEGAL REPRESENTATION FOR ACCIDENT VICTIMS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA LOW COUNTRY
As a personal injury attorney, I am often approached by potential clients to "take over" a personal injury claim where the client has attempted to negotiate and settle the claim without the assistance of a lawyer. In the vast majority of these cases, the potential client informs me that they did provide a recorded statement to the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver because it would help spur along the process and get them their settlement faster. It goes without saying though that in most instances, providing a recorded statement to the at-fault insurer only serves as an additional roadblock and becomes another obstacle in the way of the lawyer trying to settle the case.
When ever knew clients meet me for the initial consult, I am asked whether they should go ahead and schedule a time to provide the recorded statement. It has been presented to them by the at-fault insurer as if this is a necessary part of the process that is required to get the claim paid.
The answer to this question should always be NO! In my experience of handling personal injury and car accident matters, I can honestly say that I haven't had case where I felt there was an absolute need to have a recorded statement provided to the at-fault insurer.
The insurance company will play with your emotions, your morality, and flat out misrepresent facts in order to trick you into providing a recorded statement. It will be represented to you that providing a recorded statement will get you to a fair and just settlement faster (both parts of that statement are blatantly dishonest). It will be represented to you that it is a requirement of your insurance policy or even a legal requirement for you to provide a recorded statement (about 99% of the time both of those statements are dishonest). It will be represented to you that they only want a statement because you are an honest person and that your statement will help the insurance company in the final assessment of your case value.
The hard facts are these though . . . if you provide a recorded statement to the at-fault insurer then you are going to get a raw deal at trial because the at-fault insurer is going to take those statements completely out of context, twist your words, and use their lawyers to portray a version of events that, lacking context, completely change the discourse on the nature of your injuries. The prior recorded statement often carries the day in court, especially with jurors, and with good reason. A statement made you in the aftermath of the accident captures your immediate perceptions of the accident and are uninfluenced by the passage of time.
So what have we learned here everyone . . . avoid a recorded statement absent a law or other compelling reason. (As your lawyer it is my job to let you know when one is required)
ARE RECORDED STATEMENTS ADMISSIBLE IN COURT?
The reason the at-fault insurer is so insistent on getting a recorded statement from you is so that it can be used against you in a possible trial to destroy your credibility, and thus the value of your claim. The attorneys for the at-fault insurer will stop at nothing to use any small discrepancy in how you describe the events, your treatments, your injuries, or your mental state to attack your credibility and try and convince a jury that you are not reliable and can't be trusted. Remember, the jury will give a lot of weight to a recorded statement that is given shortly after the accident and will naturally be suspicious if your version of events in court differ, even in the slightest, from the version of events portrayed in the recorded statement.
Under the rules of evidence, statements previously made by a witness who testifies at the trial or hearing and who is subject to cross-examination concerning the statement are not excluded by the hearsay rule. So it is easy to impeach a witness with a previous inconsistent statement.
SO WHAT SHOULD I DO IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING MY ACCIDENT?
The answer to this is simple . . . call a lawyer. I give this advice universally, even if you may not need to actually hire one down the road. I can say that my colleagues and I in the personal injury realm are always good for a short free 5 minute piece of free advice following an accident. Call a lawyer before you do any type of communication with the at-fault insurer. A standard piece of advice that you will get as part of a quickie phone call to a personal injury lawyer will be "Don't give a recorded statement to the insurance company!" Not only is that sound legal advice, but is also some psychological reinforcement from a lawyer who has your best interest in mind so that you do not fall prey to the tactics and trickery of the insurance company.
Of course, if you feel that you will need an attorney to represent your interest going forward, always give us a call back and lets sit down and have a full consult and chart a course forward.
THE MCMILLIAN LAW FIRM - DEDICATED TO SERVING CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS IN CHARLESTON, SC AND SUMMERVILLE, SC
As a Car Accident and Personal Injury lawyer in my solo practice, I will take all necessary steps to protect your rights and earn just compensation for you as a result of your accident. Through my efforts, I can bring about much needed financial relief to a victim who may be suffering from serious injuries and permanent disability. Being a small firm allows you to have direct access to your lawyer during this entire process, with open lines of communication as we work together towards a viable solution to your specific case.
Being an experienced personal injury attorney, I have experience dealing with insurance companies. I also know where the courthouse is and will not be afraid to call the insurance company to the mat in front of a judge and jury if necessary.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident or due to the negligent or reckless acts of another in Charleston, Summerville, Mount Pleasant, James Island, West Ashley, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, North Charleston, or any of the other fine communities of the Low Country, and need to meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer, please contact me to set up your free case evaluation today. Let me help prevent you from being taken advantage of by the insurance company. I am serious and I am here for you! Contact The McMillian Law Firm today @ 843-900-1306