Workers’ compensation cases are somewhat like personal injury cases in that a claims adjuster working for an insurance company reviews all the facts and evidence submitted in a claim made by a worker to determine whether to deny the claim, pay out on the claim, and if so, how much to pay out. In both scenarios, an employer or claims adjuster may request that you give them a recorded statement regarding the accident, injury, treatment, and other factors regarding your claim.
While this may seem like a good idea, it is seldom a good idea to give your employer or the adjustor information that they can use to deny your claim. That can happen quite easily in a recorded statement controlled by the employer or adjuster.
It is important to get an employee’s injury claim resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible. An employer or adjuster may suggest that a recorded statement is one step to take toward a quick resolution of your claim. But remember that an adjuster’s job is to pay out as little as possible throughout their handling of all claims, including yours. There is no law, rule, or requirement in California that an employee give a recorded statement.
Ways That a Recorded Statement Can be Used Against You
An adjuster will seek to use everything possible in a recorded statement to minimize and deny your claim. Some adjusters will handle all the recording and questioning in a recorded statement. Allowing a party adverse to your interests this much control over such an important part of the supporting evidence in your claim is never in your best interests.
Adjusters, like attorneys, are very skilled at getting the answers that they want from a person being questioned. They are also very skilled at using seemingly innocuous answers in ways that serve the denial of your claim.
For example, your response of “very well” to the adjuster’s question of “how are you doing today?” can be used to cast doubt on your claim that you are too injured to work. It is an innocuous question and answer, common at the outset of a statement, but it can have implications for the handling of your claim.
Adjusters can and do use the questioning process to twist your answers to other questions regarding how the incident occurred and your injuries to deny or minimize your claim. Do not let them do it.
So, What Should You Do?
There are ways to handle your employer’s request in a way that will work toward your interests instead of against them. If your employer makes this request, note your employer’s request, and indicate that you would like time to think about their request.
Never volunteer to give a recorded statement. Instead, bring your claim and employer’s request to an experienced Orange County workers’ compensation attorney. Your attorney can review all the evidence with you, and together, you can craft a statement, preferably written, that will be accurate, that conveys the important aspects of your claim, and that can be used to effectively support and help resolve your workers’ compensation claim.