Injured? Big Brother May Be Watching You
A former North Carolina postal worker who had been off work for eight years recently pled guilty to disability insurance fraud charges after an insurance investigator raised questions about the validity of her claim. Her case is an extreme one, but it’s a sobering reminder to injury claimants that “Big Brother” may be watching.
Zip Lines and Game Shows
After Cathy C was injured in 2004 at her postal worker job, she told doctors she could no longer lift mail trays. In documents she submitted in 2011, she wrote that she could not “stand, sit, kneel, squat, climb, bend, reach or grasp” because of her injury.
Cathy made it easy for insurance investigators to track her activities. She appeared as a contestant on The Price is Right and spun the “Big Wheel” in a movement that included “standing, reaching and grasping.” She rode a zip line on a Carnival cruise and was tagged in Facebook photos moving furniture. The evidence made her case an easy one for prosecutors.
If you have an injury claim, insurance investigators are almost certainly monitoring your activities. Besides staying off of zip lines and game shows, keep in mind that someone from a third-party insurance company may be out there watching you — perhaps even filming you.
Surveillance reports are misleading, because they don’t show the pain that follows activity. A video shows you washing your car, but it doesn’t show the pain you feel afterward.
When you see your chiropractor, physical therapist or other medical provider, remember that that person makes a written record of your visit. If you mention in casual conversation that you went camping last weekend or worked a lot of overtime, your provider may note your comments in your record. These offhanded remarks can be used against you when the insurance company reviews your medical record, so keep conversations with your providers on topic and brief.
At TorkLaw, we can help you figure out if your Los Angeles injury claim might be in jeopardy because you’ve said or done too much.