Recorded Statements: A Tool to Help Determine Compensability
By Stephen Bordenkircher, Senior Vice President of TPA Services
Recorded statements can be a cost effective and efficient tool to aid in determining compensability of a workers’ compensation claim. Before you explore taking a recorded statement, it is important to understand the jurisdictional requirements for recording a call. In this brief article, we will address Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, and Illinois.
The jurisdictions above either fall under the two-party consent law or the one-party consent law as defined below. You need to make sure you know the requirements of the state that you are working in.
A “two-party consent” law makes it a crime to intercept or record a telephone call or conversation unless all parties to the conversation consent. A “one-party consent” law makes it a crime to intercept or record any “wire, oral, or electronic communication” unless one party to the conversation consents.
Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, and West Virginia are one-party states. Pennsylvania and Illinois are two-party states. The following web page may be helpful in determining other states requirements. http://www.detectiveservices.com/2012/02/27/state-by-state-recording-laws/#sthash.fapi8q7h.dpuf
Once you understand the legal issues, you need to insure you have the proper recording device and associated equipment; this is not an area to go cheap.
With a carefully crafted script, you have an opportunity gather a wealth of valuable information. Below is a list of possible areas to address.
- Injury information, accident description, who, what, when, where, and how. The symptomology at the time of injury as well as post injury complaints. Current alleged physical capabilities. Current care and future care.
- Is there a prior medical history? What are the prior diagnosis? Was treatment provided? If so where? Are there any drug or alcohol abuse issues current or past? Prior Motor Vehicle Accidents? Any history of mental health issues.
- Who were the co-workers at the time of injury? Who was the supervisor? Were there any witnesses? Does the claimant have a history of prior claims? What is the payroll history.
- The claimant’s DOB, height weight, work history including other forms of employment, educational back ground, military back ground, smoking history, prior laws suits, criminal history.
- Are there personal disability policies, marital status, child support, is the claimant receiving any form of public assistance? Has an application for social security benefits been filed? Is the claimant represented by legal counsel.
- What are the hobbies, leisure actives? What do they do for fun?
- Other questions specific to the claimant’s accident or injury be creative.
While the list above is by no means all inclusive, it provides a starting point to a valuable tool. Before making such a call, the person making the call should put a lot of thought into the expected result and prepare accordingly. You may find it most effective to use a conversational tone rather than putting them on the witness stand. For more information, contact Stephen Bordenkircher, Senior Vice President of TPA Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.