Some insurance companies can be “above board” with their customers, but others can be deceptive.
It’s important to state that while not all workers’ compensation insurance companies (or agents working at those companies) conduct themselves in devious ways, some do take advantage of injured workers by telling them misconceptions and falsehoods. And while their actions may not be right, they are simply acting in the best interests of their company and possibly against your best interests.
But how can you know if an insurance adjustor or company is lying?
It’s surprisingly common for an insurance company to tell a worker who has been hurt on the job several falsehoods surrounding their claim. An injured worker shouldn’t take their word for it, but rather consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
In this post, we wanted to touch on a few of the most common lies injured workers are told by insurance companies in an effort to correct some of these falsehoods.
Lie #1: You have to give a recorded statement.
One of the most common fallacies is that an injured worker needs to give a recorded statement.
First, there is no mention of this requirement in any workers’ compensation laws or statutes. The insurance company could have an internal policy necessitating an “on-the-record” statement, but that doesn’t mean the injured worker must oblige. There is no mention in any Georgia workers’ compensation laws that requires an injured worker to make such a statement.
Choosing not to give a statement doesn’t mean that your workers’ compensation claim can be denied, so don’t say a word without your attorney present.
Lie #2: You have to return to work.
Another lie is that the worker must go back to work. The insurance company can’t tell you when it’s time to go back; rather, only your authorized treating physician working your case is allowed to make that determination.
The authorized physician is the one to decide if you go back to work at normal duty, work duty restrictions or must remain totally removed from work duties. There are a variety of ways all of this happens, but it’s important to understand this fact:
If your employer cannot accommodate the recommendations of the doctor, indemnity benefits must commence within 21 days—and when they do, everything changes.
Lie #3: You must see a doctor chosen by the insurance company or your employer
A third falsehood is that the injured worker must see and be treated by the doctor the insurance company sends them to. It’s our opinion that this lie is the most common one told, and possibly the most untrue of all.
When a person is injured on the job, the insurance company often asks that they visit one of a half-dozen industrial medical clinics in Georgia, which in our experience do not specialize in any specific type of treatment and are more akin to generalists. Based on our 20-plus years of experience, we’ve found that injured workers rarely receive appropriate and adequate care at one of these clinics.
Hurt workers are sent to these clinics first and foremost for a drug test so that the insurance company can attempt to deny benefits. Georgia law states that an injured worker is allowed to see a doctor of their choosing from a panel of physicians, which consists of 6 doctors—at least 1 of which must be an orthopedic specialist.
Moral of the story:
Don’t go to the industrial clinic if you’re injured. You are entitled to see an orthopedic specialist.
Continue learning about lies insurance adjusters tell
For more information on the types of lies insurance companies tell, we invite you to check out our in-depth article.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Your first consultation is free and we can discover together what kind of case you may have if you’ve been hurt on the job.