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Understanding the Role of Private Detectives in Workers’ Compensation Claims

Are you seeking workers’ compensation benefits, and suddenly feel as if you’re being watched? Don’t be too quick to chalk the feeling up to paranoia. More and more employers and their workers’ compensation insurers are hiring private detectives to surveil injured employees.

Though the surveillance is ostensibly intended to deter fraudulent claims, siccing private investigators on unsuspecting workers’ comp claimants has wider ramifications. It also allows employers and their insurers to gather information that they can misconstrue and use to reduce their financial obligation to employees with legitimate injuries and workers’ compensation claims.

How Surveillance Works

After a workplace injury, a private detective may watch your home and follow you on your outings, including to and from appointments with your doctor or attorney. The investigator may use hidden video cameras, audio recorders, long-range lenses, drones, and other types of technology to record your movements. The employer or insurer’s investigation likely won’t be limited to in-person surveillance. You should also expect a private detective to go through all your social media accounts with a fine-tooth comb.

In both cases, the idea is to find something they can use to suggest that you’re not as injured as you’ve claimed. Unfortunately, what they find doesn’t even have to be outright fraud in order to damage your claim. For example, a photo of you lifting your toddler niece could be used as evidence that you were lifting things beyond your weight restrictions—regardless of whether it was “just for a second” or you were lifting the child to hand them to a parent.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself. Behave as if you’re being watched—both in person and online. Adhere to restrictions set by your doctor and follow their treatment plan to the letter. Close your social media accounts or, if you can’t, set them to private and be careful what you post—or what other people post about you. Most importantly, consult an experienced New York State workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to ensure you understand your legal rights and options.

Request an Initial Consultation

If you suffered a workplace injury, the dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys with O’Connor Law PLLC can help you fight for the benefits you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.


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