Thursday, July 15, 2010
The New Surveillance
Years ago I would tell claimants that they must be careful as they often are followed and videotaped. Often this is not just to find out if you are a faker. It may also show how functional you are compared to what a doctor may be saying. If you doctor says stay off your feet or don't lift more then 10 lbs and you are videotaped walking around for a prolonged time or lifting 20 lbs it hurts your case even if it were one time or after taking pain medication or whatever. Such surveillance does not show the details or that what you did may have exhausted you. It just shows you more functional then what your doctor may have said. I would tell them to follow your doctors restrictions or if you are really having problems to limit your activities at all times. No one is invisible when they go out in public or can be seen from a parked vehicle. Surveillance videos can be shown to a judge and to your doctor so be careful. Doing something one time just because you push through the pain or take something to help with pain is using poor judgement. Get help when you need it or as with shopping shop more often but never disregard your doctor or your own well being. Anyway those were simpler times and now we must all think about new ways to find out about you. Be aware that going online or posting information on Facebook or wherever can be located and often obtained as noted at this other blog. Your activities, your resume, your dreams, your abilities and your goals should be kept private during the workers compensation claim process. To me private means don't do it at all as thinking you can restrict access is foolish thinking. Further be extra careful with emails too. Those you think are your friends or co-workers can retain emails and they may in some way be used against you. Discussions about your health, your job, your claim and others related to any of that should be severely restricted and ideally eliminated during your claim. A failure to act wisely can mean losing your doctor even your attorney and perhaps your case. Surveillance nowadays is not to be taken lightly.
UPDATE Sep. 29, 2010: If anyone thinks that Facebook or other online social networks are not being noticed by attorneys and insurers please look at this detailed legal article that reviews the situation. Moreover investigators can have a motherload of information to use against claimants. Restricting access may not stop them. You may not even realize how it can be used but others know better. For example you go to a rock concert and post about it. It was fun; it lasted 2 hours and everyone was on their feet the entire time. But what did your doctor say? Did he restrict your standing? So now you are seen disregarding your doctor. My view...anyone with such an account should cease posting for the duration of your case or be at risk.