After receiving a workers’ compensation claim, employers and their insurance companies sometimes investigate claims to weed out cases of fraud. Though it may make you a bit uncomfortable, they are allowed to investigate you after you file a claim so long as they follow certain rules.
Workers’ compensation claims are complex. At Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb, Green & Bagley, a New York personal injury lawyer will counsel clients through the claim process, appeals, and even the unexpected issues like surveillance.
How workers’ compensation benefits work
New Yorkers who are disabled on the job have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. A disability for the purposes of this discussion includes both acute and slowly developing injuries, as well as contracted illnesses.
Workers’ Comp provides valuable benefits that cover necessary medical care and lost wages. This allows workers to get the treatment they need and return to work as soon as possible. However, as a trade-off, they lose their right to sue the employer for negligence.
Investigation by workers’ compensation companies
Workers’ compensation wants to see you back to work– and no longer collecting money under their policy– as soon as possible. One of the ways they limit how much they pay out in claims is to hire investigators. They attempt to verify that the extent of injuries is consistent with what has been reported by you.
No one wants to feel spied on, but as long as they follow certain rules, the investigators are allowed to perform their review. If you have reason to believe they are not following the rules, discuss this with your attorney.
What is permitted in a workers’ compensation investigation?
Legally, private investigators have wide latitude in how they may obtain information about you. They can observe you throughout the day, and often choose to do so when you are going to or from medical appointments. They can also speak with family, friends, neighbors, and even people who provide services to your home. They may ask about the activities you can perform throughout the day or record videos of you while you are in public.
What they cannot do is trespass or lie about who they are. If they impersonate someone else to gain access to you, your friends, or your home, then they may be outside their rights.
Why might someone watch you after a workers’ compensation claim?
Fraudulent claims can drive up the price of insurance while providing an incentive to employees to stay out of work longer than necessary. In addition, knowingly defrauding the workers’ compensation system is a felony in New York.
Injured workers who file a claim must provide true and accurate statements and records to the Workers’ Compensation Board. Employers and workers’ compensation carriers often keep an eye on claimants to be sure that their physical capabilities match what they have reported.
If surveillance shows that a workers’ compensation claim could be fraudulent, the employer can report it to the Fraud Inspector General for further investigation. If the case warrants it, they may hand it off to local prosecutors to take criminal action.
Contact us today
New Yorkers who have been injured on the job can help themselves through the complex workers’ compensation process by contacting an experienced Manhattan personal injury lawyer. We specialize in this practice area. If you have been hurt at work, schedule a free consultation with a construction accident lawyer. Our attorneys proudly serve clients throughout New York City, including the Bronx, Long Island, and Brooklyn.