If you have been involved in a car accident, your whole life may seem like it is turned upside down. One minute, you are driving down the road minding your own business and the next minute, you are the victim of a car accident. Car accidents only take seconds to happen but the fallout from a car accident, can last days, weeks, months, years or even a lifetime.
You will be faced with many challenges following the car accident, including assessing the property damage to your car, speaking to police and other emergency personnel at the scene, assessing your personal injuries, treating with qualified medical care providers for personal injuries you sustained in the accident, coordintaing with your employer any missed time from work due to your injuries from the car accident, shopping for a new car and/or coordinating with the repair shop for the repair of your vehicle, securing a rental car while your car is being repaired, etc. All of these tasks are very important in their own right and you may be faced with having to do all of these things while your adrenaline is pumping at the scene of the accident and/or while you are in pain.
As part of its investigation of a car accident, the at-fault driver's insurance company and your own insurance company may contact you and request that you give them a recorded statement. Under Florida law, the insurance company must disclose to you that they are recording you. The purpose of these statements is to assist the insurance company is determining who caused the accident and whether or not any of the people involved in the car accident were injured. NEVER GIVE AN INSURANCE COMPANY A RECORDED STATEMENT UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE RETAINED AN ATTORNEY. The reason for this is simple. Anything you say in your recorded statement can be used against you later. Without the benefit of having an attorney present to represent your interests, you may be cutting your own throat without even knowing it.
The most common problem I see in my practice occurs when the victim of a car accident gives a recorded statement before they have retained a lawyer a day or two after the car accident and the victim tells the insurance representative in the recorded statement that they are not injured or words to that effect. Often times the degree, extent or severity of a car accident victim's injuries are not readily apparent or otherwise discernable so close in time to the car accident itself. Although the car accident victim may indeed be injured and require medical care and treatment for days, weeks, months or even years after the car accident, the ONLY thing the insurance company heard in the recorded statement was that there was no injury or words to that effect. When this occurs, it makes proving your case much more difficult. We are faced with the daunting challenge of trying to refute what you said in an earlier statement. If your case requires a trial, the defense attorney will print your recorded statement and then enlarge the printed version the size of an outdoor billboard and continually pound the jury with your own words that you "were not injured" in the car accident, etc. It is a very effective way to defend a case and sadly, one that can be avoided by simply not giving the recorded statement until after you have retained an attorney.