Have you ever heard the 1980’s Rockwell song titled “Somebody’s Watching Me”?
The lyrics start out:
… Who’s watching?
Tell me, who’s watching?
Who’s watching me?
… I’m just an average man with an average life
I work from nine to five, hey, hell, I pay the price
All I want is to be left alone in my average home
But why do I always feel like I’m in the Twilight zone and?
… I always feel like somebody’s watching me
And I have no privacy (ooh ooh)
I always feel like somebody’s watching me
Tell me is it just a dream?
If you have a workers’ compensation claim, they may be playing your song.
Insurance companies sometimes hire private investigators to spy on employees with injury claims. This can happen at any time during your recovery, or multiple times. The investigator will take photos, videos, and perhaps even speak to your neighbors and friends. They may even talk to you, and not reveal that they are investigating you. They will mine your social media accounts. We have even recently seen investigators using drones! They can’t film you inside of your home, but they can when you are out in your yard or running errands – anywhere that anyone can see you, where you do not have an expectation of privacy.
They do this to try to prove that you are not as injured as you claim to be, that you are not injured at all, or that you are working at another job.
So, how do you handle the possibility that you are being surveilled?
- Realize that you are not alone. You are not being singled out – many injured employees experience surveillance.
- Understand the insurance company and the private investigator are doing their job. They have responsibilities to their clients and shareholders to make sure they are not paying out benefits unnecessarily.
- When you are talking to your medical providers, do not exaggerate your symptoms to make your case better. Be very honest about your limitations. For example, if you say you can’t leave your house…don’t leave your house.
- Do not violate your restrictions. Insurance companies love to see you performing physical tasks that exceed your doctor’s orders. Sometimes a little violation will be taken out of context, and this will be used to deny your benefits.
- Be very careful what you post in social media. Many attorneys advise their clients to refrain from engaging on social media at all until their case is settled.
- If you suspect you are being surveilled, do not approach or confront the person. Also, don’t engage in conversations about your claim with strangers, and even be careful what you reveal to friends and relatives.
- Don’t shoot the drone!
It does not feel good to discover that you have been photographed, recorded, and reported upon by a private investigator. Insurance companies will expend money and resources to deny your claim. This is just one more reason why it is a good idea to have a workers’ compensation attorney on your side.