Free legal advice for the day: if you just told the insurance carrier’s doctor that your low back pain keeps you from doing just about everything and that you rarely leave your bed, don’t go home and teach a karate class in your front yard. Or lift 100 pound pieces of flagstone. Or go to Mexico and smoke pot on the beach before you play volleyball. If you tell the carrier’s attorney at your deposition that you haven’t worked in months, don’t go straight from the deposition to your landscaping job. Or to your catering job. If you tell the judge at your hearing that you have to use your cane at all times to walk, don’t go to a quinceanera and dance.
These are all true stories of workers’ compensation clients of mine who have absolutely screwed up their cases by NOT TELLING THE TRUTH!!! All of these activities were caught on video surveillance by investigators hired by the insurance company in work comp claims. Remember the old axiom that “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, the insurance companies sure believe that because they spend a lot of money trying to prove what a lying dirtbag all injured workers are by showing that how they present in the doctor’s office or in court isn’t how they really act in public. The mere fact that the people were doing these things isn’t necessarily what killed their cases – it’s the fact that they lie about it, or act one way in front of a judge or doctor, and another way when they think they’re not being watched.
Many of my clients are downright indignant that they are subjected to such a gross violation of their privacy. But it’s perfectly legal. Remember that anything you do in public isn’t private and is subject to being surveilled by an insurance company investigator.
Chad T. Snow is a workers (workmans) compensation attorney in Phoenix and Tucson Arizona. He and his other associates can be reached at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.