The best way to protect yourself from saying the wrong thing to a workers’ compensation adjuster is to speak to an attorney first. You have an obligation to report the accident to your employer within 30 days. The sooner you report the accident to your employer, the better. This will help establish proof that there is a connection between your job duties and the injuries you suffered.
When the insurance company calls, don’t give a recorded statement. If they push the issue, tell them that you’ll be happy to give them a recorded statement from your attorney’s office.
Talking to adjusters can be tricky business. Read on to learn more about how to avoid saying the wrong thing and jeopardizing your claim.
A Guide to Conversations with Workers’ Compensation Adjusters
Even if the adjuster doesn’t tell you that the call is recorded, the adjuster is likely taking notes to add to your file with the claim information you submitted. This will help the company determine whether to pay your claim. Your financial well-being could be hanging in the balance during such discussions.
Injured workers who choose not to hire an attorney should follow these guidelines about what to say and not say to an adjuster.
What to Say to a Work Comp Adjuster
- Stick to the facts the best you can. Don’t elaborate unless you’re required to do so. If a question seems overly probing, it probably is. You should avoid answering the question if you can. The insurance company will look for missteps in your testimony to deny the claim.
- Don’t lie about pre-existing conditions. The insurance company can get this information elsewhere so it’s better to be honest than to try and cover up such conditions. Pre-existing conditions should not preclude you from getting workers’ compensation but if you hide it, the adjuster will have reason to believe you’re lying about other things.
- Provide as much detail about how the accident happened as you can remember. You don’t want to get chatty with the adjuster about other things, but you do want to state clearly what happened so there is a clear tie to your work.
What NOT to Say to a Work Comp Adjuster
- Avoid chit-chat at the beginning of the call. What might seem benign on the surface might be a tactic to get you talking about things you wouldn’t otherwise.
- Don’t answer personal questions, such as information about your family, home life, or finances. These questions do not pertain to investigating your workers’ compensation claim and ensuring timely payment.
- Avoid signing off on a settlement or signing any documents related to your claim until you’ve had an attorney review it. And don’t accept a settlement until you’re certain you know the full cost of your injuries to ensure you don’t accept a low offer that won’t cover your expenses.
Areas of Compensation Your Claim Can Cover
Your claim will cover paying for your medical expenses related to care for the injuries you sustained while in your line of work.
- Hospital visits
- Doctor’s appointments
- Physical therapy
- Mileage to and from medical appointments
- A percent of your regular wages is based on whether you experience temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, or permanent total disability.
Given the far-reaching impacts that workplace injuries can have on your finances, it’s in your best interest to talk to an attorney before getting too deep into the claim process. Some workers never fully recover from their injuries and require ongoing workers’ compensation income to supplement reduced capacity for work.
For a free consultation from a Virginia workers’ compensation attorney you can trust, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates.