A Guide to Interviewing Workplace Injury Claimants and Witnesses

Once an employee reports an injury, it’s important to obtain detailed information in a timely fashion. This often involves interviewing the claimant, coworkers, supervisors, witnesses, and anyone else involved. We’ve outlined helpful techniques to ensure an effective fact-gathering interview:

  1. Prepare Thoroughly – Familiarize yourself with the situation, available evidence, and role of the interviewee before the interview.
  2. Environment – Identify a comfortable, private environment that will put the interviewee at ease and encourage them to speak freely.
  3. Explain the Process – Clearly explain the purpose of the interview and that the goal is to gather information related to the claim. Let the interviewee know the importance of their role and participation.
  4. Types of Questions – Use open-ended, probing questions. Allow the speaker to offer their narrative without guiding them. For the most part, avoid Yes/No type questions.
  5. Actively Listen – Pay close attention to what the individual says and ask follow-up questions for additional detail. Repeat or rephrase the question if the interviewee does not answer it.
  6. Non-Verbal Cues – Watch the individual’s body language, tone, and facial expressions.  These may offer insight as to their level of comfort and credibility.
  7. Be Respectful – Give the interviewee your respect, patience, and empathy. Avoid leading, guiding, or offering biased opinions.
  8. Seek Sensory Observations – Ask the interviewee what they heard, smelled, saw, or felt during the incident.
  9. Seek Additional Witnesses or Evidence – Ask the individual if they are aware of others who may have knowledge about the subject or if there is relevant evidence to be secured.
  10. Conclusion – Ask the individual if there was anything that wasn’t asked that they feel may be relevant or important to the discussion. Thank them for their time and candor.

Remember, a good witness interview is designed to gather accurate and unbiased information. Memories can quickly fade, and evidence may be incredibly time-sensitive. A successful claim adjudication is always supported by a prompt and thorough investigation.  ICW Group and its Special Investigations Unit look forward to working with you to detect, deter, and defeat insurance fraud!

Brian Biggs
Brian Biggs
Brian serves as the Manager of ICW Group’s SIU team. He has been in the industry since 1997 in a variety of roles including Claim Professional, SIU Investigator and SIU Director. Brian has previously been elected President of multiple anti-fraud industry trade organizations and is joining the Board of the Anti-Fraud Alliance in early 2024. He has attained more than fifteen professional designations including the CPCU, Certified Insurance Fraud Investigator and Associate in Risk Management. Brian is frequently asked to present at conferences and industry meetings and revels at these opportunities. Brian welcomes the opportunity to speak with anyone, anywhere, anytime about insurance fraud (and all manner of BBQ).

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