I have broken this blog post into three parts. I know this is a bit long but I believe 100% that this is helpful information every injured worker in the State of Virginia needs to be aware of. Pay close attention, this information is crucial!!!
QUESTION 4: If I give you a recorded statement, can I then get a recorded statement from your own insured, i.e., your employer, supervisor, or co-workers?
ANSWER: No! This will never happen. It seems fair though, doesn’t it? If you have to give a recorded statement about the accident, then why can’t you also get a statement from the other individuals involved? Yet, the insurance adjuster will never allow this for the same reasons you should never give a recorded statement to the insurance company.
QUESTION 5: Why do I have to give you an unrestricted medical authorization before I can get any medical treatment?
ANSWER: So the adjuster can go fishing into your past medical history and find anything about your prior health which will help the company either deny your claim or pay out as little as possible. You can just as easily collect your accident related records and send them to the carrier for its review. However, usually, if you are not represented by counsel, the carrier will never accept this. By using an attorney, the attorney can usually put a few limits on how much medical information needs to be disclosed. There is no doctor/patient privilege in a workers’ compensation case, so they can get any medical records but an attorney can help steer them in the right direction.
QUESTION 6: Shouldn’t I wait until my medical status is stabilized to settle the claim?
ANSWER: Yes, because the insurance company knows that the quicker you settle the claim the less money it will have to pay out. Once you settle the claim you can’t reopen the case if it turns out your injuries are more severe or if you need more treatment as recommended by your doctor.
QUESTION 7: Why haven’t you told me about mileage reimbursement, COLA (cost of living adjustments), or other benefits?
ANSWER: Probably because they don’t have to. The injured workers have the burden to prove their case. The insurance company can sit back and do nothing. They probably have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy to save their company money. If you do not independently find out about your benefits, the insurance adjuster will not tell you.
Check out the next post for more tips to shed some light on the misinformation adjusters give to injured workers. It could mean the difference as to whether or not you are awarded benefits for your work injury!
If you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia,” or call our office today (804) 755-7755.
Michele Lewane, Esq.