HomeLibraryMaritime Injury ClaimsCommon Issues with Recorded Statements

Common Issues with Recorded Statements

One of the biggest mistakes an injured worker can make is giving a recorded statement to the company right after their injury happens. Oftentimes the worker is in a lot of pain and not always thinking clearly about the accident or the potential liability involved in their accident. There are several common problems with giving a recorded statement when you haven’t had the chance to fully think about the accident.

Recorded Statements Protect the Company, Not You

Many times companies will try to get a recorded statement immediately after the accident. When the statement is taken, they’ll ask detailed questions concerning the accident, which may include

  • Was anything unsafe which caused or contributed to the accident?
  • Were you following procedures when the accident occurred?
  • Do you think the accident was anyone’s fault?

This is a problem because many employees have not had time to think through the accident and typically will answer very quickly that the company was not at fault for the accident (and they just want to get medical treatment and get back to work).  Often the worker believes that the injury may be insignificant and believes that they will keep their job with the company.  Sometimes the worker is taking medication when they provide the recorded statement and they simply do not understand or listen carefully to the questions.

Why the Company Wants a Recorded Statement

The reasons a company might want a statement after your injury are many:

  • often recorded statements will delay claims,
  • they help your employer deny responsibility, and
  • they often catch you off guard so the details of your accident are inaccurate.

In a recorded statement, you may not have time to think about your accident and can risk giving fast answers that don’t take into consideration the full events of what transpired. Your employer or your employer’s insurance provider may attempt to convince you that a recorded statement can help your case, but nothing could be further from the truth:

  • you won’t have time to thoroughly think about and prepare for a recorded statement;
  • your comments can be taken out of context;
  • the adjuster may encourage you to “try” to answer questions, resulting in inaccurate answers that can be used against you; and
  • finally, it is not a requirement of your claim to provide a recorded statement.

How Giving a Recorded Statement Can Hurt You

Despite the pressure you may be feeling from your company, you are not legally obligated to provide a recorded statement immediately after your injury and doing so may, in fact, hurt you in the long run

recorded statements

Risks of giving a recorded statement include: 

  • being unprepared to answer questions geared toward making your claim less serious;
  • answering questions about factors unrelated to your offshore explosion accident;
  • being pressured into admitting the accident wasn’t as serious or wasn’t caused by the negligence of another; and
  • letting the interviewer lead you into admitting your injuries weren’t as severe as they really are.

4 Myths About Recorded Statements

An employee is not required to give a recorded statement under the Jones Act. Here are 4 common myths regarding your “requirement” to give a recorded statement:

  • Your employer CANNOT deny you medical treatment until you give a statement;
  • The interviewer that questions you is NOT working in your best interest to provide evidence for a fair settlement;
  • You CANNOT lose your job if you don’t provide a recorded statement; and
  • Your claim will be NOT denied without a statement.

All of these reasons are simply not true and are nothing more than scare tactics. In general, it is always best to refuse to give a recorded statement following your accident.  You may simply inform the company very politely that you either have completed a written report or will complete a written report concerning the accident at which time you can carefully provide answers to any necessary questions.  If your company insists that you provide a recorded statement, your company is protecting itself, not you.

If You Give a Record Statement, Follow These Guidelines

Here are some general points to keep in mind.

  • If you do give a recorded statement, you need to be very careful. Your employer will ask about the accident and can use anything you say in court later on.
  • Insist that your spouse be there or someone else be there while you are giving the recording. You have the right to have your spouse or another trusted person at your side.
  • Make sure that you are not on any type of heavy medication. You want to make sure you are thinking clearly and that you understand all of their questions.
  • You do not have to answer all of the questions you are asked. It is your right to say you do not wish to discuss who was at fault. It is fine to say, “I don’t want to talk about fault at this time.” You can very politely say I would rather not answer that question or I don’t want to address that issue at this time. You may still be employed by the company, you may have friends out there, you don’t want to blame your friends for the accident but they may be at fault. In that situation, just tell the company person I don’t want to talk about fault during my recorded statement.
  • Always avoid giving a recorded statement if you can. It is best to wait until you have spoken to a professional expert in maritime law.

You’re going to want to give yourself every advantage possible when filing an offshore injury claim – and a recorded statement may not be in your best interest. Under the Jones Act Law, you don’t have to provide anyone with a recorded statement unless you choose to do so.


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