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Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin 1-866-900-7078

What’s Wrong With Providing a Recorded Statement to My Workers’ Comp Adjuster?

What a lot of clients are surprised to learn when they come to us is that sometimes the insurance company who is supposed to help when you are sick or injured on the job, may use your words against you to deny benefits.

Sad, but true.

I'm referring to one of the first moments of truth an injured worker faces after an injury - the recorded statement.

Seems innocent enough, you reason. I'll just tell them in my own words what happened. Tell the truth, you think. Think again. The words you use can (and often are) used against you by the very entity you expect to help you in your time of need.

What Is a Recorded Statement?

The recorded statement is an approach the insurance company uses to investigate your workers' compensation claim to determine if they will accept or deny your claim.

One of the very first things the insurance company often does after you report an injury is to proceed with a recorded statement.

What's Wrong With Giving a Recorded Statement?

Based on our experience, you need to know a few things about the recorded statement:

  • The questions can sometimes be asked in such a way as to give the insurance company ammunition they may need to deny your claim.
  • If you don't agree to a recorded statement, your claim may very well be denied because the insurance adjuster could potentially argue that you refused to cooperate with their investigation. And as a result, there was insufficient information with which to make a determination.
  • The insurance adjuster most likely already knows more about your case then you suspect.
  • The insurance adjuster has a better understanding of North Carolina workers' compensation law than you.

If you agree to give a recorded statement, proceed with caution. A wrong answer could damage your case and result in denying you benefits.

How Might an Innocuous Statement Hurt Me?

"I'm fine, thank you"

Let's say you recently suffered a traumatic injury at work. The adjuster calls and states that the call will be recorded. You acknowledge that. After that, the adjuster might start the recorded statement by asking something like "How are you today?"

Naturally, it is good old-fashioned common courtesy to give a rhetorical response along the lines of "I'm fine; thank you." or "I'm doing OK today." However, your response may not be considered rhetorical to the adjuster. It's gospel! The adjuster could very well take those words to mean that you really are fine and the traumatic injury you reported was not that traumatic after all.

"Nothing unusual"

Some workplace injuries do not fall under the protections of our state's workers' compensation laws - and insurance companies are keenly aware of this. Let's say, for example, you injure your arm after lifting a box at work. If lifting a box is a normal part of your job then there's a good chance the injury will not be compensable.

During the recorded statement the adjuster might ask "What happened?" They already know your likely answer will be, "I injured my arm lifting a box at work." The next question might be "Did anything unusual happen?"  You might think the insurance adjuster is asking if there was a fire, a power outage, maybe an equipment malfunction - something out of the ordinary. Those seem like unusual events to you. But what the insurance adjuster may really be asking is a very pointed question that could potentially be designed to steer your claim toward a quick denial.

Let's go back to the injury sustained while lifting the box. "Unusual" by their definition might mean that this particular box was heavier or lighter than other boxes. Or perhaps the box slipped from your grasp and your arm was injured as you tried to save it from crashing to the ground. This is very important information that injured workers may not consider "unusual." And it is something that could potentially help your case. The adjusters know this! And we know they know it.

Our NC Workers' Comp Lawyers Help With Recorded Statements

The recorded statement is almost always taken over the phone, often because people that participate in the recorded statement live in different cities and states. We find that's a disadvantage to you because the insurance adjuster does not have the opportunity to view you physically to see, firsthand, the difficulties you are experiencing as a result of your workplace injury.

Instead, the insurance adjuster will have to rely on what you say in response to the well-crafted questions they ask you.

If your case is denied because you would not offer a recorded statement, you need to immediately contact an experienced workers' comp attorney to pursue your case and to try to ensure that your rights are protected. By understanding what information the insurance company wants to obtain, we can better equip you to provide honest responses that may reduce the likelihood of your case being denied. We can not only prepare you for the recorded statement, we can also be present with you during your statement to try to ensure your rights are protected.

TIP! As a general rule, experience has taught us the best plan of action when you are asked to give a recorded statement is to immediately contact an experienced workers' comp attorney.

Get a FREE Evaluation From an NC Workers' Compensation Lawyer

Not only do we have many experienced workers' comp attorneys who deal with these issues every day, we have six North Carolina Board Certified specialists in workers' comp law. And we have a number of team members who used to work for the insurance companies - and two who worked at the NC Industrial Commission! So we have a pretty good bead on their game.

Before you proceed with a recorded statement, contact us or call us at 1-866-900-7078. If the insurance company isn't there for you in your time of need, we will certainly do our best to try to help. Call us anytime 24/7.

If You Ignore a Recall and You’re Injured, Will Insurance Pay?

From the latest VW emissions cheating device scandal to GM ignition switch malfunctions to the Takata airbag recall (the largest recall ever), car and car parts recalls seem to have accelerated exponentially over the past several years.

Over the past 50 years, 400 million cars have been recalled - as many as could stretch around the earth's equator almost 45 times! That's a lot of recalls.

When a recall is issued, the manufacturer and/or the dealer, sends a notice to the owner outlining steps to fix the problem. But surprisingly many auto owners either don't pay attention to the recall notices or ignore the issue when notified. If that happens, and an injury occurs to the owner or to others, who is liable for damages?

Here's what attorney Mike Jordan had to say about this issue when interviewed on WNCT 9 On Your Side, Greenville.

Kids Can Overheat When Left in Cars – EVEN WHEN IT’S NOT HOT OUT

8 Things to Know

Many of us are parents. We're painfully familiar with the soccer mom routine. Rushing from errand to errand, sport to sport, store to store.

And getting babies and toddlers in and out of car seats can take a long time! Even loving and well-meaning parents might feel compelled to leave their precious ones strapped in the car seat in a locked car (especially if they're asleep) and "run in and out of the grocery store for a quick two minutes." But if it's hot outside, even warm, that two-minute trip could turn deadly fast. And in the first seven months of 2016, it did for 19 children across the U.S - two in North Carolina.

The stories are beyond heartbreaking.

Recent Hot Car Deaths in North Carolina

Earlier this week a three-year-little girl was spotted unresponsive in a locked van in Durham. Efforts to revive her failed.

In May, an eight-month-old baby was found dead in the backseat of his mother's car in Wilmington. WWAY Wilmington reported that when the mother went to the day-care center to pick him up, she realized she had never dropped off her child, but instead left him inside the car all day - in 86-degree heat.

How Hot Is Too Hot?

Those stories might lead you to believe it's only extreme circumstances, like accidentally leaving the child in there all day, or high-temperature levels, that could turn deadly, but that's not true.

A car can heat up 19 degrees every 10 minutes, according to a report by the Today Show. One heat-related death of a 13-month-old child occurred on a 52-degree day!

There are ways to prevent these tragedies. Here are some of them.

8 Ways You Can Help Prevent Deaths in Overheated Cars

  1. When debating whether or not to make that quick run into the store or office, a rule of thumb is: When in doubt, DON'T. No errand in the world is worth losing a life.
  2. Make a consistent effort to check your car when you get out. You never want to "forget" your child.
  3. Place an essential item such as a wallet, phone, badge, or even one of your shoes near the child when you enter your car. This could help you remember. Or if you do happen to forget, hopefully you will return for your belongings and discover the child.
  4. Leave your child at home if you can. Run errands and then return to pick up your child afterward.
  5. Make a schedule for your day, so you are not in any hurry and can make direct trips without stops.
  6. Lock the car at home and keep the keys out of reach so curious little ones don't accidentally crawl in and get stuck there.
  7. If you see something, say something. Call 9-1-1 if you see a child - or an elderly man/woman, or a pet - locked in a car.

How to Rescue Someone From a Hot Car

Here is a very informative must-see video from Todays Show that shows exactly how to rescue a child (or a pet for that matter) out of a hot car. Spoiler alert. It's not how you might think.

Signs of Heat Stroke

  • Infants and toddlers are most at risk - 87%of children who have died in hot cars are under age three. And young children are likely to overheat almost twice as fast as adults. (The elderly are also at higher risk.)
  • Heat stroke may occur when body temperature surpasses 104 degrees. Excessive brain temperature can cause such symptoms as:
    • Dizziness
    • Disorientation
    • Agitation
    • Confusion
    • Sluggishness
    • Seizure
    • Hot dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Rapid heart beat
    • Hallucinations
    • Death
  • If the outside temperature is 90 degrees, temperatures inside a car can increase from 80 to 130 degrees in less than 10 to 15 minutes.

You Can Help Prevent Heat Stroke

We hope you learned as much as we did researching this blog. For more helpful tips on keeping your child safe in a car, please visit noheatstroke.org

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Will I Get Workers’ Comp Benefits If I Got Hurt on the Job in Another State?

We live in a mobile society where people sometimes live in one place and work in another. It's not uncommon for an individual or family to reside in one city or state for only a short period of time before moving on to another community.

What happens if you live in North Carolina when you get hurt on the job in another state? And what happens if you're hurt on the job in North Carolina and then move to another state?

The short answer is you are still entitled to benefits in most instances. But we urge anyone in these circumstances to get a lawyer to help them navigate this process. Here's why.

Hurt on the Job in Another State

If you get hurt on the job while in North Carolina, you have a right to pursue workers' compensation benefits in North Carolina. If you travel outside the state for work, the protections of the workers' compensation system generally travel with you.

TIP! Workers who are hurt outside the state can still pursue a North Carolina workers' compensation claim if their employment contract was made in North Carolina.

 

Seems simple enough. But it's not always. Whether your employment contract was made in North Carolina can often be a complex question. And one that's best addressed by an experienced workers' comp attorney.

Generally speaking, your employment contract is formed wherever you were hired. This means if you live in North Carolina and are hired by your employer in North Carolina, then you can usually pursue a North Carolina workers' compensation claim no matter where your injury occurs. So, for example, if you're hired in North Carolina as a long-haul trucker, and are injured in a work-related accident driving in Virginia, you would generally be able to pursue a North Carolina workers' compensation claim.

But again, I cannot stress enough that these situations can often be difficult to properly address as there can be many nuances in workers' compensation law.

Getting NC Workers' Compensation Benefits and Moving Out of State

Sometimes an injured worker has no choice but to move out of North Carolina for one reason or another.

TIP! The injured worker's right to wage and medical benefits is not usually affected by relocation to another state.

 

Still, certain practical difficulties can arise in these situations. For example, the insurance company might argue that they would have had work for you if you hadn't moved, so they should be able to cut off your checks. (I've heard this one.) A skilled and experienced workers' comp lawyer can help, not only deal with some of these difficulties, but try to help you avoid them in the first place.

Getting Workers' Comp Wage Benefits Out of State

If you're hurt on the job and are receiving weekly wage benefit checks, simply moving to another state will not automatically disqualify you from continuing to receive benefits.

However, that has not stopped some workers' comp insurance companies from trying to use an out of state relocation against the injured worker. We've seen it happen. It can be a slippery slope, but an experienced attorney can help combat their arguments.

Don't wait too long before hiring an attorney, though. Time is not on your side in these instances and delay can sometimes hurt your claim.

Getting Workers' Comp Medical Benefits Out of State

Moving to another state also does not disqualify you from continuing to receive the medical treatment you need to recover from your work injury. After all, if you require certain medical treatment for your injury while you live in North Carolina, nothing about your need for treatment changes because you move to Tennessee.

TIP! No matter where you are, the insurance company is responsible for paying for your medical care.

 

However, as a practical matter, it can sometimes be difficult to find doctors in other states who will agree to treat an out-of-state workers' comp patient. Again, it's prudent to contact an experienced workers' comp attorney who can help address any problems you may likely face from an out-of-state move.

2016 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms"

There are 28,000* attorneys licensed to practice in North Carolina. Of course, not all practice workers' compensation law, but many do. Here are just a handful of very good reasons we believe you should consider the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin to help you with your workers' comp claim.

Our firm received the highest ranking by the 2016 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" for Workers' Compensation in the greater Raleigh area**.

Our workers' comp attorneys include six North Carolina Board Certified Workers' Compensation Specialists. One is a former North Carolina state senator and former Deputy Commissioner at the North Carolina Industrial Commission (the workers' compensation "court"). Others used to work for workers' compensation defense firms.

Get NC Workers' Comp Lawyers to Evaluate Your Case FREE

With all these credentials, you may think you can't afford to hire us. We believe you can. We work on contingency, which means you pay no attorney's fees unless we get compensation for you.

Any of our attorneys will be happy to evaluate the circumstances you may be up against - for FREE. Just click here or give us a call at 1-866-900-7078.

 

*  Figure provided by the N.C. State Bar as of December 31, 2015.

** Visit www.usnews.com for more information about criteria for inclusion.

 

I’ve Been Hurt on the Job. Do I Need a NC Workers’ Comp Lawyer?

People often ask me whether it's possible to handle a workers' compensation case without an attorney. My response is almost always the same. Sure, but I probably wouldn't recommend it.

Even minor workplace injuries can get complicated...fast.

If you're injured on the job, your employer's workers' compensation insurance should investigate (and hopefully cover) your claim. The North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act sets forth the procedures they must follow and the benefits you may be entitled to receive.

Sounds simple, right? Not necessarily.

NC Workers' Comp Laws Can Be Complex and Confusing

The NC Workers' Compensation Act is a long, complex compilation of legal rules and procedures that apply to work-related injuries and occupational diseases. The nuances of handling a workers' comp claim would fill a large book - in fact, there are already many books large and small trying to properly explain workers' comp. (Ours, for example!) Even if you have some legal experience, sorting through the information can get pretty confusing.

North Carolina workers' comp laws require injured workers to follow meticulous steps, file specific forms, and comply with various deadlines. If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you could miss out on potential benefits or even lose your right to pursue your case.

NC Workers' Comp Cases - More Questions Than Answers

Although some workers' compensation cases may seem simple and straightforward on the surface, things can get rocky in no time. Consider this hypothetical scenario:

Day #1. You sustain an injury on the job and, as required, report it immediately to your employer.

Day #2. You receive a call from a workers' compensation insurance adjuster who informs you that your claim has been accepted. (Woo-hoo!)

Day #3. You are instructed to go to an occupational health clinic for medical treatment.

So far, so good. Everything is going smoothly...right?

But what happens if the doctor refuses to treat you or if you disagree with that doctor's diagnosis or treatment plan? Can you get a second opinion? What if you're unable to return to work? Will the insurance company pay you for your missed time? If so, how will they determine the amount of your weekly checks and how long will those checks last?

Get Help From a NC Workers' Comp Attorney

A seasoned North Carolina workers' compensation attorney can try to answer all these questions for you. And more. Our job is to help you navigate this often scary and confusing process as quickly and painlessly as possible.

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, our job doesn't begin and end there. There is no checklist of things to do or not do. We try to do what needs to be done. Helping our clients is not just about trying to get them benefits. It's also about being merciful and kind during an unpleasant time in their lives.

Our firm had one particular client who was facing difficulties with his case and was going through a hard time as the consequence of his injuries. Several people at the firm spent a lot of time "counseling" him on the phone. He tried to take his own life, and it took a lot of people to help him get through that. Our firm did all we could to make sure he was getting the care he needed. We had people counseling our employees involved in this case, on how to counsel the client. Last we heard he was doing really well1.

This is just one example of many stories where our firm has been able to help our clients beyond a settlement check1.

While hiring a lawyer may seem like a daunting task (even we know that!), hiring one can potentially make a huge difference in terms of the benefits you may ultimately receive.

Still not convinced? That's OK!

How to Handle Your Own Workers' Comp Case

If you decide to start out on your own and see how far you can get, make sure you do your research and ask plenty of questions along the way. Click here for our booklet designed to help you try to take control of your own workers' comp claim.

Get a FREE Evaluation From NC Workers' Comp Lawyers

If the going gets tough, feel free to reach out to me - or any of our other workers' comp attorneys. Six are NC Board Certified in workers' compensation law. And in 2016 our firm received the highest ranking possible by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" for workers' compensation law in the greater Raleigh area2.

We'll let you know, based on our experience, if we think your specific situation warrants legal help - sometimes, in minor injuries, there's no need to involve a lawyer. So click here for a free case evaluation or call us today at 1-866-900-7078.

 

1 Cases or matters referenced do not represent the law firm's entire record. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer's or a law firm's past results. These descriptions of events are based upon the recollections of individual staff members. Client identity has been removed or changed to protect their privacy.

2 Visit  http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com  for more information about criteria for inclusion.

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

5848-100 Faringdon Place
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

201 McCullough Drive, Suite 220
Charlotte, NC 28262
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078