“The Art and Science of Taking Recorded Statements"

CLM Magazine

Trey Dowdey authored an article for the May 2019 issue of CLM Magazine breaking down the art of taking recorded statements to obtain the information needed to quickly resolve a claim.

“If completed quickly and thoroughly, a statement can be a pivotal tool for assessing the validity of a claim and steering it toward early resolution,” Dowdey says.

However, it’s important to ensure that the claimant remains willing to talk and engage in a respectful conversation, which is where a skillful statement taker can avoid challenges in claim resolution by remaining professional, fair and polite.

Dowdey offers eight tips to keep a recorded statement on track and get the information you need to effectively handle a claim, including:

  1. Do it Early – Obtaining a recorded statement early reduces the time that has elapsed between the events and receipt of the claim, which better ensures the claimant can recall the facts.
  2. Get the Facts – Get the basic information: who, what, when, where, why and how.
  3. Follow up on Obvious Questions – Don’t miss out on key information by skipping obvious questions or pressing for more details.
  4. Verify the Witnesses and Contact Information – Because it can take years for a claim to go to trial, it is important to gather information that allows you to contact witnesses in the future – especially their cell phone number.
  5. On any Medications? – Ask up front whether a claimant is taking any medications, drugs or alcohol. This can neutralize future claims that such substances interfered with their ability to recount the facts.
  6. Pay Attention to What Is Not Said – Allow for sharper questioning by identifying nonverbal cues, instances where information is omitted that should have been included or other clues to the witness’ state of mind.
  7. Anything Else to Add? – This catch-all, neutral question allows claimants to provide information that they have been wanting to get off their chests, and it can lead to useful information.
  8. Early Identification of the Litigiousness or Unfavorable Evidence – Responses can provide clues as to whether the claimant is predisposed to pursue litigation or other adverse actions.

For the full article, please click here.


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