If you experience a work-related injury that leads to medical costs and lost wages, you should be able to rest easy knowing that your workers’ compensation benefits will provide emotional and financial relief. That relief can quickly turn to dread, though, when you realize that you are a subject of workers’ compensation surveillance.
State journalists previously wrote on invasive tactics by workers’ comp investigators on residents of Hawaii in the past. Surveillance of claim holders is a very real concern, but our team can help you understand your rights and the options you can pursue when the insurance company is watching you. Reach out to our Hawaii workers’ compensation lawyer at Recovery Law Center to help you understand your rights after a work-related accident.
Can the Insurance Company Conduct Workers’ Compensation Surveillance?
If it seems as though you are under surveillance after you file your claim, you might immediately wonder, “Can workers’ comp follow you around?”
The unfortunate answer is that insurance companies are within their rights to hire or employ investigators to monitor your public activities. Though this may seem like an illegal invasion of your privacy, workers’ compensation surveillance is a lawful process.
Keep in mind that workers’ comp investigators even have the right to watch your home from outside. This may understandably make you or your family feel uncomfortable or threatened, but it is important never to confront an insurance investigator directly. Doing so may harm your claim and affect your ability to secure full compensation.
Why Do Insurance Companies Resort to Workers’ Compensation Surveillance?
Insurance providers are in the business of making money and protecting their bottom lines. Though insurance ideally exists to help law-abiding citizens when they are in need, and many individuals in the insurance industry do care about providing aid, the fact is that companies have financial risks to consider.
Those insurance providers who are willing to resort to invasive practices such as workers’ compensation surveillance are the ones willing to go to any lengths to protect their business interests.
Spying on a workers’ compensation claimant gives the insurance company an opportunity to collect evidence that can downplay the severity of your injury, disprove your claim, or discredit you on a personal level. An investigator’s goal is likely to catch you in the act of performing an activity that is outside the scope of what you should be doing with your injury. If the insurer produces such evidence in court, they may get out of paying some or all of what your original claim was worth.
What Are Some Common Workers’ Compensation Surveillance Tactics?
In addition to staking out your neighborhood and watching from outside your house, workers’ comp investigators might employ other invasive tactics for monitoring your home life. They may even set up video surveillance to capture footage through windows with open curtains and other key locations.
Workers’ compensation surveillance is likely to extend beyond your home sphere, though. Investigators might follow you while you’re out on errands in the hopes of witnessing you lifting heavy items at the grocery store or performing other tasks that can make your injury appear less grievous.
Investigators who are willing to go to particularly invasive lengths may even involve your friends and family in their investigative tactics. This could entail interviewing the people close to you in the hopes that their responses will conflict with the details of your workers’ comp claim.
Perhaps the most unnerving tactic in a workers’ comp investigator’s arsenal is to boldly approach you directly. An investigator might blatantly ask you about your injuries face-to-face in an attempt to catch you off-guard and say something that will undermine your own claim.
In the weeks or months after you file a workers’ compensation claim, it is good to keep these common surveillance tactics in mind so that you can mentally prepare for the possibility of an insurance investigator intruding into your personal life.
How Can You Protect Your Claim if Workers’ Comp Investigators Follow You?
The purpose of workers’ compensation surveillance is to attempt to undermine your claim altogether. With that in mind, the best way to protect your claim is to avoid surveillance whenever possible. While you cannot stop an insurance company from exerting their right to monitor you, there are actions you can take to lessen their visibility of you and your family.
The ideal course of action for you to take during a workers’ comp investigation is to remain in the privacy of your home as often as you are reasonably able. Keeping curtains or blinds closed can impede investigators from capturing footage through windows. Be aware, though, that an investigator will likely try to monitor you when you least expect it. Do not assume that no one is watching just because it is “after-hours” or in the middle of the night.
Another prudent way to protect your claim is by lessening your online presence. Workers’ compensation surveillance investigators will certainly not limit their monitoring to what they can see in person. Anything you or one of your contacts post on social media is material that the insurance company might try to use when attempting to prove that your claim is invalid.
Adhering to the orders and recommendations given to you by your doctor is ultimately the best way to protect your claim. The physician will likely outline any limitations by which you should abide, such as the maximum amount of weight you should lift. It is important to avoid bending these rules or limitations even on days when you feel well enough to do so, especially if you suspect that you are under surveillance.
Consult an Attorney About Protecting Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Having an attorney on your side can be a major boon for your workers’ compensation case, all the more so if you are the subject of workers’ compensation surveillance. Your attorney can advise you on legal action you can take if the insurance company takes their investigation too far and what activities you should avoid while under surveillance.
At Recovery Law Center, our experience in the fields of personal injury and workers’ compensation can help you secure the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us online or call us today for a free consultation.