How to Deal with a Workers’ Comp Adjuster
If you were injured at work, you are probably in the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim or about to do so. When you do, your employer’s insurance company will assign an adjuster to investigate your claim. However, do you know the tricks workers' comp adjusters use to minimize or deny claims?
Beware that one of the goals of an adjuster is to minimize the amount the workers’ compensation insurance company has to pay out for your claim. This means the adjuster will scrutinize everything you say – going so far sometimes to even twist what you’re saying or place it out of context.
It’s for these reasons that great care must be taken when dealing with an insurance adjuster to avoid negatively impacting your own claim. The following are some tips you can use as guidelines for what you should and shouldn’t say to a workers’ compensation adjuster.
Don’t Treat This Like a Normal Conversation
When you’re dealing with an insurance adjuster, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that this person seems friendly, down-to-earth, and polite. Despite this, remember why you’re talking to this person. Adjusters know that if they can get someone to relax and treat this like a casual conversation, they might say something that could be used against them.
Always keep your guard up and don’t be lured into casual conversation with this person, because talking about your injuries at work is anything but casual. It’s generally advisable to not engage with the adjuster beyond stating the facts of the accident.
Don’t Give a Recorded Statement
If you are asked to give a recorded statement, it’s best to politely decline – even if you feel pressured to do so. You are not required to provide a recorded statement and it won’t do you any favors. At most, it will give the adjuster some hard evidence against you in case you do misspeak after getting tripped up by confusing or misleading questions.
Be Specific When Discussing the Accident
When you talk about the accident, always be specific about what happened. Make sure, though, that any verifiable detail you provide are accurate – so avoid making assumptions or saying “you think” something happened a certain way or that. If a detail you provide doesn’t check out, it can cast doubt on your entire version of events.
Be Overly Inclusive When Discussing Injuries to Your Body
When you begin discussing your injuries, don’t only discuss the part of your body that was injured in the accident, but others that may be in pain as result of that injury. For example, a neck injury can easily cause pain in one’s shoulders and arms. Failing to mention the pain in these parts of the body and only discussing your neck injury can cause the insurance company to only provide coverage for your neck.
Always Honestly Answer Questions about Preexisting Conditions
While you won’t be compensated for a preexisting condition, a workplace injury that aggravates it can be covered. Don’t hide or fail to disclose any preexisting conditions you may have, especially if they are prior work injuries. If you do, you risk casting doubt on your intentions for filing the claim when they’re eventually discovered.
Don’t Talk about Your Family or Financial Situation
Refrain from answering any questions about your family or financial situation. These have no bearing on your workplace injury and only serve to ensnare you into providing information a company can use to limit coverage for your claim.
Always Take Your Own Notes
Dealing with an insurance adjuster is a two-way street. Just as this person is taking notes on everything you’re saying, you should take notes on everything they’re saying and what you’re saying. When you make your own contemporaneous record of this process, it can shed valuable light in the future if a problem with your claim occurs.
Never record the conversation unless you have the adjuster’s consent. Just as they must ask for your permission before recording, you must also do so before recording them.
Don’t Agee to Anything Until You Speak to a Lawyer
Above all else, never agree to anything or sign any documents before you’ve consulted with an attorney. Your lawyer must review these documents to ensure you are not inadvertently agreeing to something that’s unfair or could put you at a severe disadvantage.
If you are presented with anything you must sign or agree to, don’t fall for it if you are told it must be submitted immediately. Always wait until you have legal representation looking out for your interests to carefully review them.
Consult with a Lawyer
If you were injured at work and need to file a workers’ compensation claim, get in touch with Powers and Caccavale for the legal representation you need! Our lawyers are experienced legal advocates for people who’ve been hurt on the job and now need financial compensation to help them move forward with their lives.
If you need to file a claim or deal with an adjuster from your employer’s insurance company, contact us online or call (617) 379-0016 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help!