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Assume that a Private Investigator is Following You Around with a Video Camera


THE FACTS

  • The minute you report your work injury, you should assume that your employer and their insurance company will hire a private investigator to follow you and videotape your activities.
  • Insurance companies use private investigators to try to catch you engaging in activities that are inconsistent with your claimed injury and your doctor’s limitations.
  • Even if you are having a “good day” do not perform any activities that exceed the limitations set out for you by your doctor.
  • The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” applies in Georgia workers’ compensation litigation and videotape of you lifting too much or engaging in physical activity will be used against you.

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THE DETAILS

Workers’ compensation insurance carriers regularly use private investigators to follow and videotape claimants.  This surveillance is designed to catch you performing physical activities inconsistent with your claimed injuries.

I have seen surveillance tapes of clients:

  • in grocery store parking lots
  • doing yard work
  • changing the oil in their vehicles
  • shopping at the mall
  • driving your children to school
  • cheering at their child’s high school football games

It does not matter that you may have been having a good day, or that after you performed a taped activity that you ended up in bed for a week. You have probably heard the expression that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and I can tell you that a surveillance tape of you engaging in an activity that is not consistent with your injury can greatly reduce the settlement value of your case, or could even result in a termination of benefits and outright denial of your claim.

Here, for example is a YouTube video produced by an Ohio private investigator firm which shows an actual example of surveillance video, that was used to catch a claimant there who was apparently exaggerating her injuries. In the video you will see her walking without pain, grocery shopping and loading her car.   This individual had no idea that she was being followed and videotaped.

I all all of my clients to assume that a private detective is following them around. Even if you are feeling unusually good on a particular day, you engage only in activities that are within the lifting and activity limitations set out by your doctor.

 

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