When you’re injured at work, you often have the benefit of workers’ compensation. This can cover lost wages, medical expenses, ongoing care, physical therapy, prescription medication, illness and other injury-related costs. You can imagine these costs could get quite pricey, which makes it understandable the insurance company will want to be sure about it before paying you anything. Sometimes this leads to the insurer following you and watching you, as a workers compensation lawyer, like from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, can explain.
In most cases, an investigator hired by the insurance company has the legal right to follow you, speak with your neighbors, take pictures of you and take note of the things you do on a regular basis. Even if you’re on your own property, the investigator can photograph you from public property. This means he or she can sit in a car on the street in front of your home and take pictures as you walk from your car to the front door. It seems invasive, and it is, but it’s legal.
What Can You Do?
Because it’s legal for investigators to take these measures, there’s not much you can do about it, legally. If you feel the investigator has crossed a line, you can get your lawyer involved and sue the insurance company. Crossing the line might include knocking on your door to get a look inside your home or to speak with your minor children, photographing you inside through a window, or bugging your phone. If the investigator is doing everything by the books, you can’t typically take legal action, but you can protect yourself in the following ways:
- Take it easy when you’re out in the open. If you’re outside playing football with your kids, and you have a supposed back injury from a workplace incident, the insurance company is going to use that against you. Your back isn’t that bad if you’re playing football, right? Of course, even small actions can look big. For example, if you carry an empty box from the car to the house, you know it’s light, but the investigator sees a heavy box. A photograph doesn’t show what’s inside, so the court could assume you’re carrying something heavy.
- Limit your social media activity. Anything you post for the public on social media can be used against you. If you make a post about your morning workout, it could be used as evidence to show you’re still in good enough shape to exercise, making it seem as though your injury isn’t as bad.
- Speak with your neighbors about the situation. Ask your friends and neighbors not to talk to the investigator. Let your friends know what’s going on and ask them to respect your privacy and your situation by not speaking with the investigator.
Contacting a Lawyer
If you are in the middle of a workers’ compensation case, you might be followed by an investigator. Keep a low profile and call a workers’ compensation lawyer for help in the matter.