I have the pleasure of reviewing my new files over the weekend, so I usually get to read a few initial/recorded statements. And I know in all practicality, adjusters are pressed for time, but in general there are a few things I wish would be consistently asked in all recorded statements:
- Confirmation of competence to take the recorded statement (if recorded or not, ask)
- Confirm medication usage and whether that affects their ability to give a statement.
a) Excuse to invalidate the recorded statement if not asked.
b) Non-work-related medications as well such as cold medications that may affect their memory.
c) Make sure they can hear you
d) Make sure there are no language barriers and that they would not be more comfortable with a translator
2. Confirm the primary care doctor or where they go for medical treatment? (This is a subpoena on almost all cases that we want to get out as soon as possible. Trust, but verify, what they say about no prior injuries.)
3. Ask about prior WC claims with ANY employer (some claimants in depo misunderstand and think its only our employer)
4. Accidents and injuries are actually separate things. An accident is an event, an injury is the result. Ask about both…have you had an accidents involving your back? Have you had any injuries involving your back? (I have had claimants wiggle out and say later when caught, no I never had an accident, but I injured my back taking down the Christmas tree.)
5. Ask if they have ever had an MRI in the past and what body part?
6. Ask if they have ever been prescribed pain medication and if so why and by which doctor?
7. Ask if they have been working for our employer since the accident? Ask if they have been offered light duty?
8. Ask about witnesses.
9. Ask about Medicare or Medicaid coverage.
I would say these are the things that would be on my wish list that are not always asked. It gives me a big head start on the defense.
Our firm offers a CEU called Taking an Effective Recorded Statement, and it goes over all the nuances and what to include. Let me know if you are interested in us scheduling one for you!
Morgan Indek | Partner