People often assume that surveillance in workers’ compensation is something that happens to the scammers and fakers out there.  People might have seen the video of the woman winning the Christmas tree tossing contest, or have the image in their minds of a supposedly injured worker water skiing, while claiming a serious back injury.

The reality is that the workers’ compensation insurance industry will deploy private investigators to surveil truly injured workers with real injuries, just like you. Their hope is often that they will capture a video of you performing some innocuous daily activity. They want to use that video against you by contrasting that video with what you say you can do, or how you present yourself. Protect yourself and always be careful when talking about your ability to perform activities.

Investigators, your adjuster and your doctors will often ask, “How are you doing?” They are inviting you to complain and make statements that they can use against you. I’ve had well-intentioned and honest clients tell doctors, or even testify in depositions that they, “can’t pick up anything,” or that they “can’t ride their motorcycle anymore.”

I know these clients didn’t mean to say that they can’t pick up anything at all, only that they struggle to pick up heavy things, or that it is painful when they are lifting heavy things. They didn’t mean to say they can’t ride their motorcycle at all  — but only meant to say that they can’t ride their motorcycle as often, or as far as they used to, or again — that it is painful when they do that.

But words matter. Don’t assume that your adjuster or even your doctor will be a compassionate and understanding listener when you are talking about the impacts of your injury on your life.  Get the advice of an expert in workers’ compensation law.  The experienced and board-certified attorneys at Smith, Feddeler & Smith, P.A., are here to protect you and your rights.