If you suffered a workplace injury, an attorney should be one of the first people you contact because you’ll need unbiased, trustworthy advice. Plus, when you begin the Virginia Workers’ Comp claim process, you probably aren’t aware of all of the important Workers’ Comp laws or all the shady tactics insurance companies may try to use against you.
Everyone would like to think that the insurance companies handle matters fairly, but that’s just not the case. Adjusters are trained to reduce their overall payouts and find ways to deny claims.
This is where VA workplace injury attorneys come in; they can look out for your best interests and make sure you don’t fall into any of the insurance companies’ traps.
Tactic #1: Temporary Appeasement
Right after your injury, the insurance company may begin voluntarily paying you some benefits. At first glance, this may seem fantastic, but oftentimes, it’s a ploy to make you think you don’t need to file an actual Virginia Workers’ Comp claim.
Without a workplace injury attorney to help you file a claim and secure a legal award agreement, the insurance company doesn’t have to pay you a dime. So they’ll pay you upfront in an attempt to appease you temporarily while they wait out the statute of limitations, which is usually two years.
After the two-year period, they’ll simply stop paying you, and if you haven’t already filed a formal claim, then you’ll be out of luck.
Tactic #2: Private Investigators
Regardless of how loyal and honest you’ve proven yourself as an employee, insurance companies might hire a private investigator to try to dig up evidence that could be used against you.
The adjusters will use the PI’s findings to try to show that you:
- aren’t following the doctor’s work restrictions; or
- are capable of doing more than the doctor has reported.
Adjusters are counting on you to be ignorant of these loopholes in Virginia Workers’ Comp laws. It’s important to stay aware of their tactics and to consult with workplace injury attorneys who’ll fight to protect your rights and get you the compensation you’re legally entitled to.
Tactic #3: Recorded Statements
The insurance adjusters will call you within a couple of days after your accident at work, and they’ll try to get you to give a recorded statement. Any workplace injury attorney in Virginia will tell you not to agree to their request.
Virginia Workers’ Comp laws do not require you to give a recorded statement. It’s perfectly acceptable to:
- set up a later date to talk to the adjuster; and
- use the time to consult with experienced workplace injury attorneys.
Adjusters attempt to use innocent comments you make during a recorded statement against you so they can deny your claim. They try to lead the questioning in such a way that traps you into saying things they twist into “evidence” that they should deny your benefits.
For example, let’s say you were injured at your Richmond factory job and taken to INOVA. Then, when the insurance company calls you the next day and rapidly fires questions at you. You then make an offhanded comment about your accident, such as, “I just don’t know what happened.”
Statements like this can release your employer from responsibility and wreck your Virginia Workers’ Comp claim. Even if you were under extreme stress or on pain medications when you made the recorded statement, you’re still held responsible for anything you say, according to Virginia Workers’ Comp laws.
Tactic #4: Inaccurate Agreement Forms
The forms that the insurance company sends you to fill out and sign can be inaccurate and inconclusive. It’s highly advisable not to sign anything until your workplace injury attorney has examined it.
There are two ways the insurance companies can use the forms in their favor:
- Reduced Injuries – the forms don’t provide a sufficient way to document the extent of your injuries; whatever injuries and body parts are not specifically mentioned on the form will be excluded from your claim.
- Miscalculated Wages – oftentimes, they’ll put an inaccurate estimate of your wages, which will reduce your compensation rate.
The best way to avoid falling prey to insurance companies’ shady tactics is to talk to workplace injury attorneys who’ll advocate for your rights throughout the claims process.
Contact a Virginia Workplace Injury Attorney
When you have difficulties with your work-related injury claim, a Virginia workplace injury attorney can bear some of the burden you’ve been placed under. To get back on your feet, whether it means getting back to work or getting the benefits you deserve, order a copy of our free book, the Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia, and contact a Workers’ Comp attorney at the Injured Workers Law Firm for a no-cost consultation – 1-877-755-7744 or 1-804-755-7755.
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.