Providing a statement recorded statement to a workers' compensation insurer is risky for most workers, as they could inadvertently confuse the facts or make a misstatement that could be used to deny their claim
In police dramas, during an arrest, you will often hear the statement, "anything you say can be used against you in a court of law." While submitting a workers' compensation claim is not the same as a criminal offense, you should be aware of the similarity of creating a formal record.
After an injury, the insurance company that handles your employer's workers' compensation coverage is likely to contact you and ask you to make a recorded statement. The reason behind this request is often made to sound innocent, as merely a routine part of their investigation of your claim.
In some cases, your making the statement may help your claim, by providing the necessary details concerning your injury and would speed up the processing of your claim. However, in Minnesota, you are not required by law to provide a recorded statement and such a statement carries a risk. You may be providing the information they will use to deny your workers' compensation claim.
It seems so innocent
The claims adjuster will likely call, ask for your permission to record, make a brief statement of the date and time of the incident and then they allow you to describe what happened. The risk is that you will editorialize or make some statements that potentially are off the topic of your claim, but that could jeopardize your coverage.
You may describe facts from your incident that don't match or contradict what you stated elsewhere. This discrepancy could then be used to question your credibility. The reason most attorneys strongly warn criminal defendants to not speak with the police is that the individual may inadvertently make mistakes or contradictions that could later be used against them in that "court of law."
Your best interests or the insurance companies?
The same is true of a recorded statement made to the insurance company. The claims adjuster may be simply looking for the facts, but more likely, they are hoping to steer you in the direction of making an error that could allow them to deny your claim. Remember, as pleasant and helpful as they may sound, they work for the insurance company and no one at an insurance company receive promotions by paying the most claims in a year.
They are likely trained to ask leading questions that could trip you up. They may want you to agree with them that you were driving too fast, used equipment improperly or failed to observe safety protocols. They may presume you are dishonest and it is their duty to prevent a fraudulent claim. They may sound sympathetic, but their ultimate goal is to minimize or deny your claim. Because they have the power to deny your claim the relationship is inherently adversarial. They do not have your best interests at heart.
Just the facts
If you were to provide a statement, you should only provide the facts of what occurred. First, you should write down, using a timeline or outline, exactly what happened to prevent confusion or mistakes. However, there is still the risk that the adjuster will begin asking questions that could lead to errors or discrepancies.
The better strategy, when asked to make a recorded statement on your claim, is to contact a workers' compensation attorney, who can protect your interests and allow them to speak with the adjuster. They can ensure that the facts of your claim are not muddied by clever questions asked by a claims adjuster.
Allow an attorney to speak for you
It is important to keep in mind that these claims adjusters work on these claims as their job. They are practiced and trained. A naive worker, who wants to be helpful and honest, simply is no match for an adjuster who is looking to cause a worker to make misstatements that could come back to haunt their claim.
An attorney from Atkinson Law Office, P.A. is experienced with workers' compensation claims and has represented many workers on these matters will not be fooled by an insurance company's tactics. They know the types of questions they will ask and are prepared to respond with answers that protect your claim.