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The Car Insurance company wants a statement from you after an accident – what should you say?

If you have been involved in an accident, your own car insurance company (or the other vehicle’s insurer) may ask to meet with you to obtain a statement.  In most cases, there is nothing wrong with the insurer asking to meet with you.  However, you usually are not required to agree.

Many people simply agree to the statement because they do not know that they are entitled to say no, or that they are entitled to have protections put in place.  While most of these statements are not overly significant, they can sometimes come back to haunt you.

What will usually happen in one of these statements is that an adjuster will attend at your home and will ask you a series of questions.  As you answer, the adjuster will write down the basic points of your answers.  When the adjuster is finished, they will ask you to review it and then sign it.  This may sound harmless enough, and people often think “what do I have to hide”.  We are not suggesting that you hide anything, but a failure to protect yourself can cause issues.

Remember that an adjuster is not recording what you say word for word, remember that an adjuster may be writing things in the way that they interpret what you are saying, there could be errors as well, and all of the important information may not come out.  It’s not to say that the adjuster is purposely acting against you, but not all of the points may be clear to you or recorded in such a way that speaks to all of the issues that could come up in the different parts of your claim.

I have one current case with a client who sustained catastrophic injuries and was cut off of most of her benefits as a result of what is included in her signed statement (taken before they retained a lawyer).  The client notes that what is in the statement is being taken out of context.  I think that she is right and we are fighting the insurer on it, but we now have to fight against what is contained in the statement.

In many cases that I work on the statement is brought up down the road in the lawsuit and defence lawyers poke holes in it or try to use it as evidence.

In my respectful opinion, you definitely should not meet with the other driver’s insurance company without speaking to a lawyer first.  Remember that they are adverse in interest and are not looking out for you.

If you have been injured in a car accident in Ontario, it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer before agreeing to meet with the insurance company for a statement.