Beware the Recorded Statement
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

Texas has several rules which limit the contact a plaintiff's lawyer can make with an injured person. For example, a lawyer cannot make unsolicited contact with a stranger by telephone or in-person if the lawyer is seeking professional employment because of an automobile collision or a "particular occurrence or event." The lawyer cannot even mail something to someone who has been injured in an accident or disaster within 31 days of that event. Many people like this rule because they can avoid all the calls and mail they would get after they are in an accident.

But the law is one-sided. It does not prevent insurance companies from contacting hurt people. Often, insurance company adjusters (employed either by the insurance company or by independent adjusting companies) will call you if you have been in an auto accident. They may pretend to be concerned about your health and welfare, when their real purpose is to get a recorded statement from you to use against you if you try to sue the person who crashed into you. Once you hire a lawyer, they cannot do this unless your lawyer is involved to protect your interests. But as the law now stands, they may trick you into making statements damaging to your case before a lawyer can even advise you that you don't have to talk to them.

My advice is to be very careful when talking to an insurance adjuster for the person who hurt you. Such adjusters are trained to take statements and you may often be worse off after talking to them regardless of the merits of your case!

Complete Citations

Barratry Statute: Texas Penal Code Annotated, Section 38.12(d)(2)(A) (Vernon 1994)
State Bar Rule: 7.03(a)

Written by Donald Ray Burger, Attorney at Law
Last revised: January 23, 1997

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