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What is the ’72-Hour Rule’ for Statements to Insurance Companies?

After being involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is not uncommon for an insurance adjuster for the other party’s insurance company to call you and want to get your side of the story. If you don’t know better or figure that you’ll have to eventually talk to the insurance adjuster anyway, you might agree to talk to him or her and even be recorded. A week later, the adjuster calls you and states that they are denying your claim for any compensation based on the recorded statement that you gave. If your claim goes to trial, can the other party’s insurance company use that recorded statement against you?

Wisconsin law specifically prevents insurance companies from using recorded statements that were taken from accident victims within 72 hours of the time that the injury or accident occurs as evidence in any trial relating to the accident, such as a personal injury claim. This law is meant to protect injury victims who may be under the influence of medications or in severe pain shortly following an accident. Therefore, even if you consent to giving a recorded statement to the other party’s insurance company, the statement will not be admissible in court if it is taken within 72 hours of the accident at issue.

Even after the 72 hour period has expired, however, you have no obligation to speak or give a statement to the other party’s insurance company. In fact, it is typically not in your best interest to give such a statement. While you must cooperate with your own insurance company if necessary, such as if you are making an uninsured motorists’ claim, you have no such duty to cooperate with the other party’s insurance company.

The experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are here to help you through the aftermath of a motor vehicle crash, including dealing with the insurance companies involved and ensuring that they follow all of the necessary rules and regulations. We can look into the circumstances surrounding your accident, assess the situation, and evaluate any claims that you may have for damages. We know how to determine fault in a car accident, and build a strong personal injury claim based on that determination. Contact our office today in order to schedule a free initial consultation about any potential claim that you may have.