Unfortunately, it is all too common: A construction worker reports to the job on time, just like any other day, and gets seriously injured. While operating a saw, the worker’s arm gets tangled in the machine and he suffers catastrophic injuries requiring amputation.
The worker, who is rushed to the hospital, does not fill out the necessary paperwork to report his work-related injury, but as soon as he gets a chance, he completes his claim for benefits all on his own–without the assistance of a lawyer. Soon, he gets a call from the workers’ compensation insurance company that handles his employer’s claims.
The insurance company asks for a recorded statement and the worker dutifully complies. With one quick statement his benefits are terminated: He is unable to get the full amount of medical benefits he needs to pay doctors’ bills, nor can he get the wage-replacement benefits to pay for his time unable to work.
Recorded statements in workers’ compensation claims are a trap
Injured workers need to remember that the goal of an insurance company is not to give you as much money as possible to ensure you can pay for all of your medical benefits. The goal of an insurance company is to pay as little as they can legally pay on any given claim.
Insurance firms make strategic use of recorded statements to pinpoint how a workplace injury happened, and to create strong arguments for why they can limit and/or deny your claim for damages. Recorded statements are not that different from police interrogations: They can and will be used against you.
As an example, in this workers’ compensation case from February 2015, an insurance adjuster used conflicting information offered in an injured worker’s recorded statement to deny him benefits.
Get help from an attorney before you give a recorded statement
Getting legal help from a lawyer before making a recorded statement to an insurance company about your workers’ compensation claim achieves several things:
- It helps you feel safe and calm during a potentially difficult meeting with the insurance company.
- It ensures that you will be prepared to answer certain questions that insurers use as “traps” to limit the amount of benefits you can claim.
- It prevents insurers from “bullying” you during the recorded statement. In other words, they will be less likely to pressure you into statements if your lawyer is present to speak up on your behalf and protect your legal rights.
For the above reasons, Charlotte, North Carolina, workers who have been hurt on the job should seek help from a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer. With a lawyer by your side, you can not only prepare for your recorded statements ahead of time, you can be sure of having an advocate from the beginning of your case–until the final resolution.