Should I speak to an attorney before giving a statement to my insurance after an accident? 38 Answers as of June 09, 2013

I was in an collision with a pedestrian who was crossing the street, not in a crosswalk or intersection. It was the middle of the day and I was traveling 10 mph in 25. I was moving slowly during the collision because I had just made a right turn off a busy street behind a vehicle doing the same when said vehicle stopped abruptly. My vehicle was stopped with the the back end partially jutting out into the street I had turned off of, so I passed the vehicle, thinking this would be fine considering there was plenty of room and I would not be entering the oncoming lane. As I initially passed the vehicle, I was looking down the road and to the left, seeing no cars, bicyclists, or pedestrians, I proceeded slowly around 10mph and that is when I struck the pedestrian. I was moving forward completely in the correct lane, and she actually struck the side of my vehicle above the drivers side front tire well. She suffered severe injuries, rib, skull, and hip fractures. I assume she was crossing from my left side to right but I never saw the pedestrian before or during moment of impact. Police questioned the driver of the vehicle in front of mine and he said he had stopped soon after turning. I was not cited at the scene, nor was she, according to the incident report, although the section for citations says "pending" and nothing else. This was about five weeks ago and the pedestrian has just filed a medical claim with my insurance and they are asking me to make a statement concerning the accident. I have been told by several people to speak to an attorney before I give this statement to my insurance. Does this sound like a necessary precaution?

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Law Offices of Steven A. Fink
Law Offices of Steven A. Fink | Steven Alan Fink
Your insurance company has a duty to defend you from any lawsuits that are filed. Based on your explanation you should have no problem giving them a statement without consulting with an attorney. You definitely have some liability for the accident. You will have to pay your deductible. Rest is the insurance company's responsibility.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/15/2011
David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
Yes.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/9/2013
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
I would never allow one of my clients to speak to an insurance adjuster or an attorney without me being present. This interview will be recorded and if you don't understand a question or just get confused and misstate the facts, later if you are called to testify in a deposition or a trial the attorney will use that recording against you as impeachment. You should consult with you insurance company and see if they have an attorney who can advise you at this stage in the process. It is likely that if there is no lawsuit filed that they will not provide an attorney for you. Presumably you gave a statement to the police so you can refer them to that. The tough part is that if you refuse to be interviewed and you did not give a prior statement, they are likely to find you liable because they only get to hear one side of the story - the plaintiff's.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 8/9/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
You should get an attorney, and then give a statement to your insurer who will have an obligation to hire defense counsel for you. If you refuse altogether to give a statement to your insurer, you could give the insurer a reason to deny coverage. Stay well
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/9/2011
Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC
Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC | Timothy G. Kearney
It is always advisable to speak with an attorney when preparing to be interviewed/questioned by an insurance company. If you have an attorney you should consult with them to get an idea of what to expect. If you need further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 8/9/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    You have to cooperate with your own company or they may deny coverage. Under the circumstances you would be well advised to speak to your own lawyer. Pedestrian cases are often complicated in fact and in law and juries sometimes feel sorry for pedestrians even tho they may be careless.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Yes, you should consult with and/or retain an accident or personal injury attorney to advise and represent you before any statement is given to your or anyone else's insurance company.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    I would not use the word "necessary", but given the severity of the pedestrian's injuries and the potential of charges, it would certainly be a good idea.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Oliver Law Office
    Oliver Law Office | Jami Oliver
    You have no obligation to give an insurance company a statement unless it is your own insurance company (you have a duty to cooperate under your own policy). Regardless of who is asking for the statement, you should consult with an attorney first because everything you say will be used as an "admission against interest" if there is a civil or criminal trial later.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Yes, you should speak with an attorney. You should also not post anymore information online, here or anywhere else. It is one thing to ask a question. It is quite another to make admissions publicly, which any web site is.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    You should always speak to an attorney if YOU are injured and YOU are considering pursuing a claim. Under these circumstances however, your insurance company is actually defending a claim against you. They should provide an attorney for you, etc. However, if you prefer to hire your own private attorney, you are free to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You certainly may want to consult an attorney. It can't hurt and might help. But you are going to have to answer your own insurance company's questions about the accident
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    Yes, your best course of action would be to speak to an attorney first. A lawyer can let you know of your rights, object to any unfair questions, and warn you before you say anything that could be used against you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/20/2012
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    As with most things in the law it depends. With those severe injuries, she will make a sizable claim against you. You have defenses because she apparently did not cross in the cross-walk where she would be given the benefit of the doubt. But your insurance company only really cares about coverage up to the policy limits. Hopefully you have a policy bigger than the minimum of $15,000 as this will likely be a case in excess of that amount and could even be a six-figure case. In certain circumstances your insurance company can pay off the policy limits and be done with you and leave you hanging. You may want legal advice on that. They may defend you (provide an attorney and pay for it) but refuse to pay any damages over the policy limit. If you have assets that can be levied on then I would suggest that you speak to an attorney before giving your statement to your own insurance company and do NOT give a statement to the pedestrians counsel.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield | Jonathan C. Reed
    Since you have insurance for your car the claim against you is partly or entirely your insurance company's problem. Most people with insurance do not feel it is necessary for them to hire at their own expense a lawyer to deal with their own insurance company. The exception to this general rule is if the potential claim of the pedestrian is likely worth more than your insurance policy limit and you have substantial assets. In that case hire your own attorney for advice.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Why don't you find out more about the statement the carrier wants. Specifically who is going to be taking the statement. If it is a company attorney who is ultimately going to represent you and the lady and her attorney are not going to be there, probably OK. Theoretically, the carrier is on your side. Might also look at your policy. May contain a requirement to cooperate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    Yes. You can speak to criminal attorney if afraid to be charged with a crime. You can speak to personal injury attorney if you had injuries
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    If you have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for any damages to the pedestrian if you are found at fault, it is not necessary for you to obtain your own attorney. Your insurance company will provide you with a defense and an attorney if you need one. If, however, you have very low limits of coverage, such as the statutory minimum policy, then you may want to consult with an attorney in advance, simply because your insurance may not cover all of the losses available to the pedestrian.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    If you don't cooperate with your insurance company, that could cancel your coverage. Tell your insurer what happened. Don't talk to the woman you hit or her attorneys or insurance company, unless you feel your policy limits are high enough to cover all the damage you may be responsible for. You say you "never saw the pedestrian" but we know she was there because you soon hit her. Unless you can make the case she "darted" in front of your car, you are, at least partially careless and thus responsible. That is why we all carry insurance.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    It is certainly not a necessary precaution, and eventually you will have to talk to your adjuster. The adjuster's goal is to settle the claim for as little as he/she can, including for $0.00 if you are not at fault. From what you described, because the injuries are so severe, I would think the insurer will offer money even though they may not admit liability. The adjuster should be on your side and will not want to do anything in investigating the case that would hurt the claim. I could see the adjuster interviewing you without recording it or reducing it to writing, thereby not creating evidence to be turned over to the other side, but that is the adjuster's call. Ultimately, if the adjuster cannot settle the claim, your insurer will hire an attorney to represent you in the claim, but the adjuster normally tries to settle without having to hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Potter Law Offices
    Potter Law Offices | Cal J. Potter, III, Esq.
    Yes. Many cases are compromised by speculating on statements.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C.
    A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C. | Dan Woska
    You should first consult with and then retain a lawyer to represent you in this matter. Also, you should never give an insurance company a written explanation that will clear everything up unless and not until you have your attorney review it.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    If the facts are as you say they are you should be OK to talk to your own insurer. The insurer will undoubtedly want a recorded statement from you and you are required to cooperate with your insurer and give them one, usually. I would recommend that you have an attorney with you when you give the recorded statement and to prepare you beforehand. If a lawsuit is filed against you by the pedestrian the insurer has to hire an attorney to represent you in the lawsuit at no cost to you.The potential danger that I see here would be if the driver of the car in front of you said something that could potentially make you responsible and the police decided to cite you. I think that is a small risk. The pedestrian was "jaywalking" in traffic. I would be remiss if I did not point out that sometimes crooks (with phony x-rays and medical records or access to a crooked doctor)walk into the side of a slow moving car in order to make an insurance claim. This sounds a little like that.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    Your insurance company will give you an attorney to defend you if the pedestrian files suit. Right now, your insurance company is investigating the accident to see whether you are liable. Every insurance policy contains a "duty to cooperate" which means you have to speak with them and cooperate with them during all phases of the case. Based on the duty to cooperate, you should give the interview. If you want to have an attorney with you, go ahead, but be very careful. If you violate the "duty to cooperate" (for example, by refusing to answer their questions) you can talk yourself out of insurance coverage, meaning you would be 100% personally liable for the accident.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Judnich Law Office
    Judnich Law Office | Martin W. Judnich
    Most attorneys will always give you a free consultation with no pressure to sign any documents. Whether it is just some good free legal advise or if you want the attorney to do all the heavy lifting, it is never a bad idea to go talk to an attorney first.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    No. You are represented by your insurance company who is on your team in this instance. They owe you a duty to defend (free lawyer) and coverage up to your policy limits. You are free to hire your own counsel, but this is often not necessary unless an over limits judgment is likely.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Your policy of insurance undoubtedly requires that you cooperate with your insurance company, so the answer would be that you have to give them a statement.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company. You do not have to give statements to any other insurance company. You can certainly consult with a lawyer within a reasonable time before giving your statement to your company.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Link & Smith, P.C.
    Link & Smith, P.C. | Houston Smith
    You are under a contractual obligation to make a statement to our own insurance company. If a suit is brought against you, your insurance company will retain counsel for you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    Your insurance carrier will be representing you in a claim they provide a lawyer that is there to insure your interests and an adequate defense.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC | Paul S. Bovarnick
    No. Unless you intentionally hit the pedestrian, your insurer has a duty to defend you. But you also have a duty to cooperate with your insurer when it wants to defend you. You can ask them if they are reserving the right to decline coverage, but that is very unlikely. More likely they want a statement in order to defend you. In that case, you have no need for an attorney at this point. You may need an attorney later if the injured person makes a demand greater than the limits of your insurance and your insurer unreasonably refuses to pay the limits. But that situation is infrequent, though not rare, and unlikely in view of the facts in your email.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/8/2011
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