Insurance companies approach every injury claim with a certain degree of skepticism. For one thing, they don’t always believe that you are as hurt as you say you are. Furthermore, they don’t believe that you will follow the doctor’s order and restrictions. This is despite the fact the overwhelming majority of workers’ who file workers’ compensation claims are truly injured and many cases injured very badly.
So, there is no question that once you are injured in a work-related accident, the workers’ compensation insurance company will look for ways to minimize or deny your claim. This includes trying to catch you in the act of doing something that you are not supposed to be doing or that you should not be able to do.
Therefore, once you file a workers’ compensation claim and the doctor has placed restrictions on you, whether it be a ten-pound lifting restriction, no bending, lifting or squatting, or not to work at all, you must follow those directions at all times.
You’re Being Watched!
Everyone understands that life goes on even when you’re injured. You may have to pick up your children from school and go grocery shopping, and you may not have family or friends who can help you with these tasks. But, unfortunately, while you are doing the things you need to do, you may be under surveillance by an investigator for the insurance company, and anything they catch you doing can be used to minimize or deny your claim.
You can be under surveillance in the grocery store, outside your home, and at the gas station. A private investigator can even be sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office to observe how you walk in––were you using your cane or not? Were you walking upright after having told the doctor that you can’t straighten your back?
When these private investigators catch you doing something that you are not supposed to be doing or anything that can cast doubt on your claim, they will send the surveillance video to the insurance company, and sometimes to your treating physician. Once the insurance company or your doctor sees that you can now lift grocery bags and carry them from your car into your home, they will assume that you are no longer disabled and can return to work or look for a job to support yourself.
Be Ever Mindful
You have to be mindful that whatever physical abilities you display in public can have a huge impact on your workers’ compensation claim. This is not about doing anything improper, it’s about being truthful with your doctors from the outset and doing whatever you can to stay within the guidelines that the doctor has given you in terms of restrictions.
You must also keep in mind that if you are posting on Facebook and other types of social media platforms, this too may be under surveillance by the insurance company, and any photo, video, or comments you post that have you engaging in activities that you should not be able to do, or ever worse, that you claim to be unable to do, can have a disastrous effect on your workers’ compensation case.
The bottom line is this––when you claim to be injured, you should, in fact, be injured. It also means that when you are given restriction because of this injury, these restrictions apply to your activities 24 hours/day, at work and outside of work. Finally, in order to avoid jeopardizing your workers’ compensation claim, you must remember to follow your doctor restriction completely.