It is not uncommon for injured workers to receive a telephone call shortly after a workplace accident in which an insurance claims adjustor requests that the employee agree to give a recorded statement over the phone. In cases of serious accidents, claims representatives may even show up on the doorstep of a home, or at the hospital, seeking permission to record a statement in which the employee is asked to describe how the accident occurred and what body parts were injured. However, Wisconsin law does not require that injured workers provide any type of recorded statement to an insurance company, whether in person or by phone.
3 Reasons to Refuse to Provide a Recorded Statement to the Worker’s Compensation Insurer
In addition to the absence of any legal requirement for giving a recorded statement, there are several practical reasons not to do so if you’ve been injured at work.
1. Pain medication may influence your memory or reasoning. It is not uncommon for workers to remain under the influence of pain medication in the days and weeks following a serious injury, and such medications can make it difficult to clearly understand the questions being asked and equally difficult to provide accurate responses.
2. Recorded statements can help the insurance carrier build a case against your worker’s compensation claim. A central purpose of any request for a recorded statement is to provide the insurance carrier with a basis to deny the claim. In particular, the insurance representative conducting the interview will try to elicit answers that create inconsistencies in the employee’s description of the accident or that raise questions about pre-existing injuries or physical conditions; insurance carriers frequently rely on such information to deny claims.
3. Recorded statements cannot be corrected. Once the recorded statement has been provided, there is no way in which to correct or revise it. The recorded statement therefore becomes a story set in stone and difficult to revise or correct at trial.
In cases where an employee has given a recorded statement, Wisconsin statute requires the insurance carrier to provide a copy of the statement to the employee or risk exclusion of the statement at the trial of the case. (Wis. Stat. sec. 102.123).
Finally, an insurance carrier’s request for a recorded statement may signal it is considering denial of the claim. If you have received such a request following a work injury, or if your claim was denied after you have such a statement, contact Hawks Quindel’s experienced worker’s compensation attorneys for a free evaluation of your claim.
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