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Do you really need an attorney when you're injured on the job?

If you've been injured on the job, do you really need an attorney before you even talk to the adjuster for your employer's insurance company?

Yes, you do.

If you're like most people, you probably think that you don't need an attorney to represent you unless the insurance adjuster seems to be trying to pick a battle or looking for a reason to unjustly deny your claim. As long as everything seems to be proceeding in a friendly fashion, it seems somehow a little awkward and hostile on your part to get an attorney involved, right?

Wrong. Any insurance adjuster who has been around for a while is smart enough to keep things friendly as long as possible -- it's far easier to get information from workers' compensation claimants who are chatting along as if they were talking to a friend than it is to get information from someone who is guarding his or her words carefully.

Make no mistake: The insurance adjuster has an agenda, and that agenda does not include paying you if the insurance company can find a way to avoid it. Adjusters are urged to get as much information as they can in recorded statements about how the accident happened, so that they can question the "mechanism of injury." In other words, they're trained to find a way to prove that the injury either couldn't have happened the way that you said that it did or simply didn't happen that way.

Adjusters are also urged to take advantage of a claimant's innate desire to talk. They're also encouraged to take extensive notes and look for indicators of fraud in up to 20 percent of cases. You're particularly at risk of being suspected of fraud if you've had previous claims, were disciplined recently at work or were injured when no one else was around.

An attorney offers you the best protection against accidental slips of the tongue that can later be used against you in court in a recorded message. Once it's been recorded, it doesn't matter if your words were taken out of context or you meant something differently than it sounded -- your case could still be at risk. If you were injured in a workplace accident, seek legal help today.

Source: workcompcentral, "Experts: To Save on Claims, Look for Fraud and Question Mechanism of Injury," J. Todd Foster, accessed June 20, 2017

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