Naturally, as an employee in California, after sustaining a work-related injury or illness that hampers your ability to carry out your duty and earn a living, the next step is to have a conversation with a workers’ compensation adjuster representing your employer’s insurance carrier.
This is a very important part of the process, seeing as your goal is to maximize the amount of money the insurance carrier has to pay, while the adjuster’s goal is to minimize the same amount or even eliminate it completely.
It almost goes without saying that to ensure you come out on top of the conversation, the very first step is to understand what you should say, and what you should not to say to the workers comp adjuster.
In case you happen to fall in this category and need help threading the line, you don’t have to worry anymore. Below is a concise guide highlighting the dos and don’ts to follow when talking to a workers’ comp adjuster.
What You Should and Should Not Say to a Workers’ Comp Adjuster
Do – Be Thorough in Explaining Your Symptoms Without Exaggeration
There is a fine line between thoroughness and exaggeration. Talking to a workers comp adjuster is tricky because you want to thread the line carefully without omitting anything.
You want to let them know about your pain and symptoms in detail, without saying something untrue that may be used against you down the line.
As long as you stick to being truthful and thorough, you should be fine.
Another point worth emphasizing is the thoroughness required, particular when it comes to specific injuries. You should be sure to include every part of your body affected, because if you omit an area, they will not pay for it.
Do Not – Agree to a Recorded Conversation
You are not obligated by law to agree to a recorded statement or conversation between yourself and the workers comp adjuster. Doing so is not really in your best interest either, so there is practically no reason why any form of recording should occur during the conversation.
In case you are asked – and there is a chance this happens – all you have to do is simply decline. Adjusters tend to ask so as to find holes in your claim.
Do – Stay Focused on the Facts
Again, thoroughness is key, but alongside this you also have to be hyper focused. In short, what you want to do is stay focused on the facts surrounding your illness or injury alone.
Staying focused on this area alone plays two key roles. First of all, it helps you iterate and reiterate on the important points that will get your condition clearly across, and secondly it stops you from focusing on other areas that may be used as a distraction against you.
For instance, adjusters may like to shift the conversation towards a personal note in hope of derailing your focus of finding motives for false claims. Do not fall victim to this.
Do Not – Agree to Anything Without Your Workers’ Compensation Attorney
A very important point is to never, under any circumstance, agree and commit to anything without your workers’ compensation attorney present. There are so many facets of workers compensation that no matter how thorough and focused you think you are, you are never sure you have everything covered.
A workers compensation attorney is well-equipped to see you through the maze and make sure you come out in the best possible form.
Do – Take Notes of Every Conversation
As mentioned earlier, recording the conversation between you and a workers comp adjuster is not something we’d recommend. However, it is also important that you take note of every important point brought up by either of you in the conversation.
To that end, you should do your best to take notes as the conversation proceeds.
Do Not – Answer Questions You Don’t Understand
A workers comp adjuster may throw questions at you that are intentionally ambiguous. That may be done in order for you to commit to something you’re not entirely clear about.
In case this happens, you should always ask the adjuster to clarify and keep clarifying until you get an absolutely clear picture of what the question is about.
If you’re unsure as to the answer, there is no need to give one. You don’t have to speculate or say something you’re not sure of. This can be used against you in the future.
Do – Come Clean About Pre-existing Conditions
In addition to the points above, you should also speak truthfully about any pre-existing medical conditions you may have. You should also know that while the pre-existing conditions will not be covered by your workers compensation, any aggravation that occurs as a result of work-related injury or illness will be taken care of by your employer’s workers compensation insurance carrier.
Schedule a Consultation
Lastly, it is highly imperative that you schedule a consultation with a skilled workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible. Yes, you can talk to a comp adjuster without one if you follow the rules above, but as mentioned earlier, nothing should be signed without your comp attorney present.
They will also be the one to advise you on important steps and factors to consider not only regarding the communication, but ultimately in deciding how much you can get from your workers compensation claim.
At The Morris Law Group, we have a host of highly skilled and experienced workers’ comp attorneys guaranteed to see you through the compensation process with maximum ease.
So there you have it – everything you need to know before you go into conversation with your company’s workers comp adjuster. The dos and don’ts are pretty simple: be thorough without exaggeration, stay focused on the facts, take notes, and schedule consultations. Don’t agree to a recorded conversation, don’t sign any document without having a qualified attorney take a look, don’t answer questions you don’t understand, and most importantly, in case you’re unsure about anything, you should never hesitate to talk to your workers compensation attorney.
At The Morris Law Group we’re always ready to help you navigate your workers compensation journey. Get in touch with us today to get started.