What should I do when the workers’ compensation insurance company wants me to give a written or recorded statement?
After an accident (especially accidents involving serious injuries or death) you can expect the workers’ compensation insurance company to be calling you so they can take a “statement.” There is a reason they are in such a hurry to do this. Insurance companies LOVE when injured workers talk to them before they know the ramifications of what that statement could do to their claim.
Here are some pitfalls:
1) Incomplete or unknown information – Sometimes, injured worker leaves out important details that tie their injury to their work duties (a requirement for eligibility of workers’ compensation benefits) or they make general statements like “I’m not sure, it just happened so fast.” Injured for unknown reasons are not covered. Or, “I just fell.” (Why did you fall?). The insurance company will NEVER make any assumptions in your favor!
2) Not identifying a specific immediate event – Saying that you were working all day and hurt your back will guarantee that your claim will be denied. You need to be specific and say something like “as I was lifting the 3rd box, I felt a pull, or I felt pain, and it got worse as I continued to work.”
3) Interruptions and distractions – Adjusters will often trick injured workers by interrupting them or asking the injured worker questions while they are trying to recount what happened and this can lead to an injured worker forgetting to mention an important detail or getting confused.
4) Impaired judgment – It is not uncommon for an injured worker to be heavily medicated or even in the hospital immediately following a work injury, especially a serious one. Adjusters will go so far as to call or show up at the injured worker’s hospital room wanting a statement and knowing full well the injured person is likely in a fog from the medications their doctor has given them to deal with the physical pain of the accident. Often, because of the medications, a person is not thinking clearly and might say things or remember things incorrectly that they maybe would not have done otherwise and may give a bad statement.
Sadly, the bottom line is that if the insurance company can get an injured worker to give a recorded statement and the statement is bad or missing elements that workers’ compensation insurance benefits require for eligibility, they have a quick and easy reason to deny a claim. I have seen so many cases where an injured worker who has a legitimate injury and should be entitled to benefits is denied because the insurance company has them on recording giving a bad or improper statement. It’s hard to dispute a recording and, once that statement is given, there is no “undoing” a bad statement (you can’t “un-ring a bell!”).
If you are unsure about giving the insurance company a recorded statement about your particular accident, talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before you give the workers’ compensation insurance company any information that they could use against you.
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.