When an injured worker files a workers' compensation claim in North Carolina, one of the first critical events that will happen is a phone call from the insurance adjuster requesting a "recorded statement."
The adjusters are always nice about it, but the process of giving an adjuster a recorded statement is full of traps for the unwary injured worker. The adjusters are looking for reasons to NOT pay the claim, and are not usually looking for a reason to pay your medical bills and lost wages. And, consider this legal fact: Some on the job injuries are not covered by workers' compensation because of the way the injury occurred. In order to have a "compensable" injury, one must be injured by accident, or by a "specific traumatic incident" or injured over time due to an "occupational disease." If you do not describe how you got hurt in enough detail in this recorded statement, then the insurance company will deny your claim. Each of these three types of compensable injuries has it own set of key details that need to be disclosed in the recorded statement.
Most people hire a lawyer to help them after their claim is denied--and after they have given a recorded statement that can be used to discredit them in the hearing to review the denial. I have seen many recorded statements that failed to disclose all of the details of the incident that caused the injury, and the injured worker was denied medical benefits and wage loss benefits as a result. We can request a hearing on these denials, but it takes months to get through that litigation process. And if the recorded statement leaves out crucial details then the injured worker's more detailed testimony in court may be viewed as "not credible" simply because those details were left out in the recording.
So, if you are hurt at work, how do you avoid this potential problem? Well, it is pretty easy. Before you take that risk, you should get a free legal consultation from a Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation law BEFORE you talk to the adjuster in that recorded conversation. That lawyer can go through the facts with you and make sure you know what is important before you put yourself on record with the insurance company.
As soon as you can after your injury, contact a Certified Specialist for some free legal advice. All workers' compensation lawyers will give you a free legal consultation, but make sure you contact the best lawyer for the task. In North Carolina, you should look for a lawyer who is Board Certified in Workers' Compensation Law by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. A directory of those lawyers across the state can be found on the Specialization website. The link is down below.