It does not cross many people’s minds that they may be under surveillance by the insurance company that paid out their workers’ compensation claim, but it is true that insurance companies often check in on claimants in order to ensure that they really are injured as they claimed to be. While many would assume that this type of behavior is illegal, in Arizona, it is not. As long as they record you in public places and stay out of your home and off of your property, insurance companies are entitled to record claimants as much as they want.
While many insurance companies use surveillance videos simply as a way to get to know a claimant and to verify their claims, many also use it to ensure that a client’s statements are consistent with what they see on video. For instance, an individual may tell a doctor that ever since the accident that caused their injuries, they have only been able to lift a maximum of 10 pounds, thereby making it impossible for them to do their job of stocking shelves. However, if a surveillance video catches that same individual lifting a 50 pound bag of dog food on their day off, the insurance carrier may become skeptical of the individual’s injury claims and proceed with caution moving forward.
Additionally, surveillance videos can be used to ensure that you are following doctor’s orders. For instance, if the doctor specifically stated that you are not allowed to lift more than 10 pounds, yet you are out lifting 50 pounds-worth of dog food, the doctor may determine that you do not need restrictions after all or, worse yet, that you do not require as much time to heal as they initially thought.
More often than not, an individual will not lose their claim entirely based off of a surveillance video. Surveillance videos may be used as a tool to minimize your case, but unless you are performing extremely physical activities on your time off, regular, everyday activities (such as lifting more than you should) could just indicate that you are progressing much quicker than the doctor had anticipated. However, it is always best to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney regarding any surveillance videos taken of you during your recovery time.
While most insurance companies are going to keep an eye on individuals who claim to have sustained significant injuries on the job, a good way to avoid any hassle with the insurance companies is to be honest. Be honest with the doctor about what you can and cannot do, and if the doctor gives you a restriction you feel is unnecessary, let them know. Furthermore, do not exaggerate your symptoms, as over-exaggeration often prompts an insurance investigation.
While it can be nerve-wracking to know that you may come under surveillance any time after filing a workers’ compensation claim in Arizona, so long as you are honest about your injuries up front, you should not have any issues. If you have recently been injured in a work-related accident, and if you suspect that you are under surveillance, contact the Phoenix workers’ compensation attorneys at Snow, Carpio & Weekley, PLC at 877-370-5788 to schedule a free consultation today.