Thanks to TV and other media, many people have been fed a lot of information about the worker’s compensation process. One of the most popularized ideas is that after they file a worker’s compensation claim, the insurance company will hire a private investigator to tail your every move. Unlike much of the information that TV can present, this actually has a grain of truth to it. You may be followed after a worker’s compensation claim and it can be used to hurt you.
Why Private Investigators Are Brought In
A worker’s compensation insurer often has at least one private investigator on retainer or specifically employed by them for cases. In fact, the bulk of a private investigator’s work comes from insurance companies. It is not so much that insurance companies hope to catch you in a lie and claim fraud, but rather, they hope to catch you doing activities above doctor-set restrictions that can hurt your case.
Consider this situation: You get your medical treatment and file a worker’s compensation claim. Your doctor sets certain restrictions such as you shouldn’t lift more than 20 pounds or stand for more than 20 minutes at a time. As your case moves into mediation, the insurance company pulls out a tape of you lifting that 50-pound bag of dog food from your car or taking leisurely long walks around the neighborhood. Suddenly, your case is in trouble. The insurance company can argue that you are not as hurt as you claim and they don’t need to pay you as much or at all.
This is all part of another cost-cutting measure by insurance. It is their job to catch those trying to defraud the system, certainly. However, it is also their job to get out of paying as much as possible.
Is Surveillance Legal?
You may not exactly love the idea that someone could be watching you anytime you leave your home. However, surveillance by a private investigator is completely legal. They certainly can’t break in or do anything to you, but there is no crime against watching you while in public. Of course, being in public view does cover things like being in your driveway or your own backyard as well.
What to Do When Under Surveillance?
It is a private investigator’s job to blend into the background, so chances are you won’t even know they are there until after the evidence has been presented. However, if you have been hurt at work, there is a chance that you will be put under surveillance after the claim is filed.
This doesn’t mean you should not live your life or should be constantly on your guard, but rather the answer is easy. You should just follow your doctor’s restrictions. Those restrictions were not put in place because your body physically can’t handle them, but they likely put those restrictions in place so you will heal faster. So not only will you heal faster by following them, but you preserve the integrity of your worker’s compensation case as well.
So if your doctor states you shouldn’t lift more than 20 pounds and you think you might be under surveillance, have someone else carry that 50 pound bag of dog food. This is the best possible option rather than living your life looking over your shoulder until the claim is finalized.
If you are filing your worker’s compensation claim, we can’t do much for any potential surveillance, but we can help you get the compensation you deserve. If you have been hurt on the job in Minnesota and need help, contact us today. Let the Law Office of Joshua Borken help you navigate this difficult process so you can get the compensation you deserve.