Making Use of Your Recorded Statement

Use of recorded statements is an effective and cost-efficient tool of discovery for members of the claim management team.  Before you take a recorded statement of an injured worker, a member of the claim management team needs to understand the legal implications.  As with most things in workers’ compensation cases, it is important to understand how the law in one jurisdiction varies from another.  Failing to understand this issue can impact the admissibility of the recorded statement later on in the case.

 

 

Important Questions to Ask

 

A recoded statement can serve as the basis for ongoing discovery and witness identification efforts.

 

  • Claimant Background Information
    • General background information (DOB, height/weight, etc.)
    • Education history
    • Work and vocational history (including wages, job duties, work-related injuries, and reasons for departure)
    • Military service
    • Smoking history
    • Prior litigation experience
    • Criminal convictions
    • Driver’s license status
    • Medicare and Social Security status/applications

 

  • Prior Medical History
    • Locations of regular medical treatment, including care in the past
    • Surgical history
    • Diagnosis and treatment of chronic or ongoing conditions
    • Physical therapy and chiropractic care
    • Emergency room visits
    • Motor vehicle accidents and other personal injuries
    • Chemical/substance abuse treatment
    • Mental health
    • Marital status and children, including information on children/dependents with special needs

 

  • Potential Interveners
    • SSDI, SSI benefits and Medicare/Medicaid
    • Pensions and 401K
    • Public assistance
    • Veterans benefits
    • Unemployment compensation and history
    • Out-of-pocket medical expenses
    • Medical mileage
    • Child Support obligations

 

  • Work with the employer on the Date of Injury
    • Supervisor/manager
    • Co-workers and worksite personnel
    • Description of work duties (physical aspects; required lifting; motions and movements required with employment)
    • Hours worked, including overtime
    • Wage history
    • Absences from work/disability
    • Previous workers’ compensation injuries
    • Verbal or written reprimands

 

  • Injury related information
    • Description of injury
    • Emergency personnel and first-responders
    • Immediate injury symptomology
    • Post injury symptoms
    • Aggravations with various activities: Sitting – how long; Standing – how long; Walking – how long; Lifting – how much; Twisting; Bending; Driving – how long
    • Present medical care and treatment along with understanding of future care

 

  • Miscellaneous information
    • Hobbies and recreational activities
    • Musical instruments
    • Leisure activities such as reading
    • Activities of daily living and around the house

 

Other Considerations

 

It is important to know and understand all applicable rules and statutes related to recorded statements.  In most instances, the statements must be accurately transcribed and sent to the claimant for their review and signature within a specified timeframe.  Failure to do so may impact the ability of counsel to use that recorded statement as evidence or impeach the testimony of the person giving the statement.

 

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, and founder of COMPClub an interactive training program teaching workers’ comp cost containment best practices.  Through this platform he is in the trenches on a monthly basis with risk managers, brokers, consultants, attorney’s, and adjusters teaching timeless workers’ comp cost containment strategies, as well as working with members to develop new tactics and systems to address the issues facing organizations today. This unique position allows him to continuously be at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in workers’ compensation cost containment. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

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