The insurance adjusters will call you immediately, usually within two to three days of the accident, and ask to talk to you about the accident and if they can record your statement. This sounds innocent enough. However, the reason they do this is so that they can hold you to whatever you say during that initial call; even though you may still be in the hospital or on strong narcotics. You will be held responsible for what you say in that recorded statement. This is appalling to me because, while you are under extreme stress from an injury, possibly on narcotic pain medications, and just wanting to get your benefits, the insurance adjustor, as the experienced interrogator, will ask you questions and lead the questioning down a path that could prevent you from getting any workers’ compensation benefits at all. They seem “helpful” and friendly but they are hoping to find any loophole to deny your benefits.
Here is an example. One of my clients fell off a stepladder at work. While most people would think falling off a ladder at work would be covered under workers’ compensation, it is not. There has to be unique circumstances surrounding falling off the ladder. Since you could fall off a ladder, fall down stairs, or trip and fall at home or someplace else just as easily, workers’ compensation won’t cover it. In this case, during the recorded statement, the adjustor said, “My goodness, I guess it happened so fast,” and my client said, “Yes.” She said, “I guess you did not know what was happening.” He said, “Yes.” She was basically trapping him to say he did not know how he fell off the stepladder. Through interrupting him and distracting him, she got him to say exactly what she needed for his case to be denied. Luckily, there was a portion of the statement where he did say that the ladder was a little unbalanced and had rocked beforehand. Luckily, he told his doctor when he first went to the doctor that the ladder was on uneven pavement and was rocking and he had tools in his hand and that’s why he fell. Also, during recorded statements when you’re telling your story, the insurance adjuster will interrupt you so that you are only answering the questions they want to hear the answer to. Their goal is not to understand your situation or to give you benefits. Their number one goal with the recorded statement is to find any loophole through which to deny benefits. This is why I usually recommend not to give recorded statements.
About the Author: Injured Workers Law Firm
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.