VERY LITTLE, IF ANYTHING!
Once your injury is reported to your companies Workers’ Compensation carrier, you can be sure that someone from the insurance company is going to attempt to contact you. Under Florida Statute § 440.185(4) carriers must, within three days, send an informational brochure setting “forth in clear and understandable language an explanation of the rights, benefits, procedures for obtaining benefits and assistance, criminal penalties, and obligations of injured workers and their employers under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Law.”
In addition to sending the brochure, an adjuster from the insurance company is most likely going to contact you over the phone and attempt to get a recorded statement regarding your version of events. In addition to information about your work injury, they will ask questions about prior work injuries, whether or not you have been in a motor vehicle accident, whether or not you have committed any felonies or misdemeanors involving some sort of fraud, etc…
A lot of times, they will call without warning and ask if it is alright to take your statement. It is human nature to just want to answer the questions, because most of us don’t have anything to hide. The problem is in the interpretation and context of answers to a third party, such as a judge. We earlier discussed how pictures and post on social media can be taken out of context and negatively effect a case, and answers in a recorded statement are no different. As stated above, these calls usually come without warning putting the injured worker on the spot without time to really think about your answers or to remember everything in your past. Some people may forget a car accident or slip and fall from the past, that in our mind was just a minor thing, when put on the spot like that. You can be sure the insurance company will find out about it and then may try to use the fact that you didn’t bring it up in your recorded statement against you later.
This is just one example of how talking to the insurance adjuster without being represented may negatively affect your claim. We would love to discuss your case and explain all your options regarding proper communication with the insurance company. Once represented, the insurance company’s lawyer will want to take your deposition where she will ask a lot of the same types of questions. Being represented by an attorney would allow you to be prepared and better understand the types of questions and how to answer them so to mitigate or eliminate any negative effects. This is why it is important to hire a workers’ compensation attorney who handles these types of situations and knows what your entitled to. If you or someone you know is in this situation, please give us a call at (877) 817-4127.