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Recorded Statements: Things that destroy your PI-WC Claim


Blog Category:
10/29/2014
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Question Detail: If the insurance company asks me to provide a recorded statement, should I agree to it?

Answer: I cover this extensively on my law firm's website because it's a critical event in any personal injury case and it is a place where untrained people think they can apply what is making Lowe's a lot of money. Understand this; the practice of law does not lend itself to DIY projects. Seriously, go find an attorney to help you with this claim. And find the attorney before you go put your foot in your mouth by saying something you will later regret, but did not understand before you spoke the words. Recently we have had a client who thought it was a good idea to check the non-work related box on a short term disability form because he understood how difficult his company makes it to get workers' compensation benefits and how receipt of those benefits would affect his job. He knew this was a work related injury but wanted to be a "loyal employee", loyal to the company. Of course the doctor on the bottom of the form checked off this injury is work related. Still the insurance company will not pay him benefits. We are two months into the claim and still he can't make a mortgage payment. He too thought it was a good idea to talk to the HR department and fill out their forms without talking to a lawyer, and look at the mess he's in.

You need a lawyer, now go find one. 

A potential client phoned last week and asked me a simple question: If the insurance company asks me to provide a recorded statement, should I agree to it?

To the client it would seem this should be an easy question for me to answer. Most people think any qualified lawyer should be able to give a straightforward and simple answer; but it is not easy to do. You might ask why and the answer is in the details of the case which at that point I did not have enough information. Without knowing how the accident happened and how you were injured it isn't possible to direct your attention to what will be the fighting issues. 

I cover this extensively on my law firm's website because it's a critical event in any personal injury case, which includes workers' compensation, and it is a place where untrained people think they can apply what is making Lowe's a lot of money. Understand this, the practice of law does not lend itself to DIY projects. Seriously, go find an attorney to help you with your claim. And find the attorney before you go put your foot in your mouth by saying something you will later regret, but did not understand before you spoke the words in answer to an adjuster's question.

Recently we helped a client who thought it would be a good idea to check the non-work related box on a short term disability form because he understood how difficult his company makes it for those filing for workers' compensation benefits. He chose instead to go after STD benefits. He knew this was a work related injury but wanted to be a "loyal employee", loyal to the company. Of course the doctor on the bottom of the form checked off the injury was work related. So now we have the injured worker saying it is not work-related and the doctor saying it is. What that did is set up a denial by both insurance companies. Both workers' comp and the disability insurance adjusters denied the claim. He was without any benefits so he came to me for help.

Many people think he is just dishonest, but he isn't a dishonest man; just foolish in his belief of what a good and loyal employee should do when injured. His daughter finally persuaded him speak with me. How did he get into this mess? Well he relied on the HR person who encouraged what he did. She set him up for his work comp claim to fail. That employee simply took advantage of what every employee knows about injured workers: sooner or later they will want to get rid of you so don't file for workers' compensation benefits. Then you don't and they do it to you all the same. So you are dammed if you do and dammed if you don't. My client is a very nice guy, just misdirected in his thinking about what would eventually happen to his job. He thought it was a good idea to talk to the HR department and fill out their forms without talking to a lawyer, and look at the mess he got himself into. We straightened out of the mess; but not for another eighteen months. His wife had to work two jobs and the bills piled up. Only when his predicament became obvious did he come to see us. 

Don't make the same mistake. Learn from his mistake. You need a lawyer, now go find one. 



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