People are always told to act like they are being followed when they have made any insurance claim that alleges physical injury. This advice is not the province of the paranoid, but it reflects the reality of how insurance companies operate.
Workers’ Comp Insurance Companies May Follow You
Insurance companies can and do conduct surveillance on claimants. Although they do not have the resources to surveil everyone who files a workers’ compensation claim, they may investigate further if they have reason to believe that a claim is suspicious or if they have some questions about the claimant.
Your employer does not pay your workers’ compensation benefits. Instead, your employer pays premiums to an insurance company, which is responsible for paying your wages and medical costs. Accordingly, you are subject to the usual insurance company tactics, including doing anything possible to save money. If they have to make you the issue, they will not hesitate to do so.
How an Insurance Company Will Conduct Surveillance
The insurance company will either have its in-house investigators or will hire an outside party to conduct the surveillance. Their efforts can take on several forms, including:
- Having someone follow you when you leave your home
- Monitoring your social media accounts to see what you are posting and saying
The insurance company is trying to prove that your claimed injuries are overstated and that you can work.
It Is Completely Legal for an Insurance Company to Surveil You
You may be asking if this surveillance is entirely legal, and the answer is mostly yes. We say “mostly” because there are some limits on what an insurance company can do to conduct surveillance.
They cannot look into or enter your home. In other words, they cannot park across the street and use binoculars to look inside your windows or a camera to take pictures of you at home. However, they can tail you when you leave the house.
You Should Not Give the Insurance Company Any Ammunition
From your standpoint, you need to be very careful so long as you are receiving workers’ comp. If the insurance company can come up with evidence that shows that your claim may have been untruthful, you can not only lose your benefits, but you can be in further trouble.
The problem is that the insurance company will take any shred of evidence that it thinks it has and take it out of context to use against you. If it sees a social media post with a picture of you out in public and enjoying yourself, it may try to argue that you are not really injured.
In other words, the insurance company does not even need direct evidence to make your life more complicated. You will not know until after they have followed you that they did it in the first place.
How to Deal with the Prospect of Insurance Company Surveillance
You should take the following precautions when you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits:
- While you can go out in public, you should try to avoid activities and events that may indicate that you are physically able to participate.
- Avoid posting on social media about activities or your physical health (even a bland posting such as “I’m doing well” may be enough for the insurance company to question you.
- Be careful about who you speak to when you are out in public. If a random stranger comes over to you and asks about your condition, politely decline to discuss it.
- Although it may sound like paranoid advice, you should act like you are being followed at all times. Even if the insurance company is not actually listening to everything, you should assume that they can see and even listen to you.
The insurance company surveillance may happen over several days. The investigator may not be following you at all times. Instead, they may videotape you at certain times of the day to get a sense of your activities. They are solely interested in undermining your claim and saving themselves money.
You Cannot Usually Do Anything to Stop the Surveillance
Unless the insurance company goes too far and breaks the law, there is little to nothing that you can do to stop the surveillance since they are acting within their legal rights. Insurance company investigators know the line they cannot cross and usually stick to it.
Absent circumstances that allow for a restraining order (which are extremely rare), you will need to get used to the reality of the situation, so long as you have an ongoing workers’ compensation claim. You should never put any underhanded activity past the insurance company that is trying to minimize the number of claims that it pays.
Contact a Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Insurance Attorney Today
The attorneys at Horton Mendez can help you when your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, or the insurance company is challenging you. You critically need these benefits, so you should not leave anything to chance, hiring an experienced lawyer whenever necessary.
To schedule your free initial consultation, you can contact us through our website or call us today at (910) 668-8067.
Workers’ Compensation Case FAQ
My claim was denied. Does that mean that I cannot get workers’ compensation benefits?
No. North Carolina law gives you the right to file an appeal that will be heard by an objective administrative law judge who does not have the same financial conflicts as an insurance company.
Does my appeal have a good chance of being successful?
Statistics show that many appeals end up with a successful result, so long as you can show that you suffered a work-related injury.
How much are my workers’ compensation benefits?
You can get two-thirds of your weekly wage before your injury, subject to a cap set by North Carolina law.