You should first understand that the adjuster is not trying to help you by taking your statement.  The adjuster is trying to help the insurance company.  However, the answer to this question depends on who the insurance adjuster is working for.  The adjuster is either working for your insurance company on a claim that you are making (what is called a 1stparty claim) or the adjuster is working for the other person’s insurance company (what is called a 3rd party claim).  On rare occasions, the adjuster is working for both (on the 1st party claim and on the 3rd party claim—it is what we call a duel insured case).

 On a 1st party claim where your insurance company is wanting to take your statement for your claim, there is probably a “duty to cooperate” clause in your insurance policy.  That clause requires you to cooperate with your insurance company in adjusting your claim.  It requires you to give a statement if requested.  If you refuse and the insurance company can show that your refusal has prejudiced the insurance company, the company can deny your claim (even if your claim was a valid claim) because you breached the duty to cooperate clause.  That clause does not require you to give your statement immediately.  You are entitled to have an attorney (at your own expense).  How long of a delay in giving your statement depends on the circumstances of your specific claim.

On a 3rd party claim, the duty to cooperate claim does not apply to you.  That is because the insurance contract is between the insurance company and its insured, not you.  Since you do not have a contract with that insurance company, there is no duty to cooperate and no duty to give a statement.  Many adjusters will claim that they will not pay your claim unless you give a statement.  In almost 40 years of practicing law, I have never had a single claim denied simply because my client refused to give a statement on a 3rd party claim.  There have been times where I have told the adjuster that my client would be willing to give a statement to the adjuster IF I was allowed to take a statement from the other party.  The adjusters always claim that they cannot do that because they cannot force their insured to give a statement.  Of course, that is a lie because their insured has a duty to cooperate with the insurance company.  Nonetheless, adjusters continue to lie about their inability to force their insured to give a statement.  The truth is that the adjuster knows that a statement would be harmful to their side of the claim—just like you giving your statement to the adjuster will harm your claim.  In fact, I have refused to represent some people (sometimes, not always) when I learn that they gave a statement to the other person’s insurance company because I know how it can devastate a case.  Everything you say to an adjuster will be used against you even if it is the absolute truth.  Adjusters are trained to twist words around to make things sound differently than intended.  

 In a duel insured case, it isn’t actually appropriate for an adjuster to take your statement when he/she is handling both the 1st party claim and the 3rd party claim.  The legal obligations are different for each claim and one cannot serve two masters.  Therefore, one must make sure that the adjuster you are giving a statement to is only handling your 1st party claim and not handling your 3rd party claim.  You must also make sure that the 1st party adjuster does not share your statement with the 3rd party adjuster.  Again, it is not wise to give a statement without the assistance of an attorney.

That is why it is important that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the crash. If you or a loved one has been injured, don’t call the wrongdoer’s insurance company, call the Scott Ray Law Firm at 580-248-5557.  Get the compensation you deserve for the injuries that were so needlessly caused.

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