Going to give my $0.02 here as a former insurance claims agent (non-injury).
Getting a recorded statement both is and isn’t a trap. It is, in that if you are doing something that indicates shared responsibility in an accident, we do want to assess the responsibility to all parties involved. For example, in a multi-car collision, it is very important to know number and scope of impacts, ie if the party behind you rear ended you and was rear ended in turn, the middle person has some responsibility as well, not just the rear-most vehicle.
Now normally, it isn’t asked for in a non-injury, admitted fault claim. The most frequent reason it comes out is that a person who admits fault at the scene is very, very likely to change his/her mind when they have to report the accident. They don’t want their premiums to go up after all, so especially if there are ambiguous physical damages, the adjuster doesn’t know who’s telling the truth. In that case they want a recorded statement from all parties involved, so that in light of the physical damage and testimony, they can make a decision before it goes to courts, arbitration, etc.
I personally had claims where a customer had a written note from our insured at the scene, admitted responsbility, and then denied it to us. And per the laws in CA where the claim happened, it isn’t admissable, so we had to go with investigation and review statements (I ruled against our insured in that one.)
The issue with retaining a lawyer, is that in general once you say you have one, you are on your own. Both carriers can now only talk to your lawyer, not to you, and that’s going to slow your claim waaaaaaay down. In general, each person then makes the claim against their own insurance, with deductibles and all, and you’re going to wait until the lawyers make their case in court if it comes to that. Now in a disputed injury claim, yeah, I see nothing wrong with it. In a non-injury claim . . . . if you have the funds for the deductible, no big deal, but if the lawyer isn’t doing it out of friendship, you’re going to get big costs.
So, lastly, my advice is what I gave to my customers (both insureds and claimants) when I got a dispute in what was originally reported as an open and shut claim. If you are uncomfortable with a verbal statement, give me a Detailed written statement, with diagrams or anything else you want. I’d even send an email with a few suggestions, like how to go to google maps to get a birds eye view of the area, and have them fax it in. I did advise that a written statement, just like a recorded statement could be used in court, but that this put them in the driver seat. (yes, I’d always get a weak laugh for that one, but it did put them at ease).
Honestly, for me, it was less work, and I would sometimes get more details. And at times, the info sent in did show that one party or the other was clearly at fault, even if they felt their testimony said otherwise, and I had to show them that while I agreed they didn’t try to cause an accident, they were legally in the wrong.
So in short, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. If the lawyer is free, and doesn’t mind extra hours if the dispute escalates, go for it. DON’T expect the other party to pay for the fees if they start having to charge you 10-20 hours in, that’s on you. If you feel that you’re in the clear, but afraid of being hit with a trick question, ask if you can submit a written statement, but still be aware that it can show responsibilities you weren’t aware of.