A caller to my office was hurt that day and had been told to fill out a first report of injury and was wondering what he should put on it as well as if he should grant the employer or insurance company permission to access all of his medical records.
This sounds like a form the company has created, perhaps at the request of the insurance carrier. There is a first report of injury form that is supposed to be filled out in every case that is called a Form 45 report. It’s supposed to be filed with the State, but it’s supposed to be done by the employer. Bottom line is that while you should report your injury, you don’t have to fill out every request you are asked for.
Starting with the request to access medical records, you don’t have to do that. By law the insurance company can get access to any medical records related to your injury. This would include treatment for the work accident as well as records related to prior treatment for a similar problem. So if you tear your rotator cuff today, but also had shoulder problems five years ago, they can see those records.
What they can’t see are records that have nothing to do with your job accident. If you have been treated for substance abuse or mental health or cancer or anything else not related to your job, those records are none of their business and you don’t have to give them permission to get them.
With respect to the details of the injury itself, you have to remember that anything you say or write can be used against you, so you should be careful. Rule #1 is to tell the truth. Rule #2 is to not go off on some tangent of information that either isn’t relevant or could paint you in a bad light. We tell our clients to never give a recorded statement for this reason but also not to write forever.
So do say: I was walking down the hall and slipped on the floor because it was wet and when I tried to catch myself I jammed my arm and felt pain in my shoulder.
Don’t say: Well, don’t say much more than that. Short. Sweet. Honest. That’s all you need if you put anything in writing.
The safest play is for us to do if for you, but if you do it definitely keep it simple.
Beyond all that, the more they ask the more likely they are looking for a “gotcha!” reason to deny your case on a technicality. So be careful and whether it’s us or someone else, get someone in your corner who knows what they are doing. And as always, there is no cost to hire an attorney unless we get a settlement. If you want a free consultation, contact us at any time.