Big Brother Is Watching: Video Surveillance and Workers’ Compensation

 In Workers' Compensation Blog

Video SurveillanceIf you are injured while performing the duties of your job in the state of Illinois, you may be entitled to receive benefits through the workers’ compensation system. These benefits usually take the form of medical treatment for your injuries, a portion of your average weekly salary (typically two-thirds) while you recover, and a settlement for any permanent disabilities that you may have. However, just because your employer and its insurance company are required by law to provide you with these benefits, it does not mean that they are eager to do so. The cost of workers’ compensation benefits can really add up, so it is in the interest of a workers’ compensation insurance carrier to pay as little as possible, or even to deny your claim outright. For this reason, many insurance companies are increasingly resorting to extreme measures to invalidate your workers’ compensation claim: Video Surveillance.

Video Surveillance: Can The Insurance Company Really Do That?

Yes, it can – and assume that it will.

Remember, your employer’s insurance company is paying for your workers’ compensation benefits, and its goal is to prove that you are not really as hurt as you say you are. If its efforts are successful, the insurance company will use that information to cut off your benefits as soon as possible, potentially saving itself many thousands of dollars.

For this reason, it is common practice for insurance companies to hire investigators to carry out video surveillance on workers’ compensation claimants. Given the potential financial upside for the insurance company, there may not be a workers’ compensation case small enough that surveillance won’t be used, so do not be surprised if investigators follow you around as you drive, shop for groceries, or go to restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, or parks.

In most cases, this type of video surveillance is perfectly legal because it is typically conducted in public spaces, where there is no “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Since you should know that it is likely that other people can observe what you do in public spaces, it is within their rights to record what you do. And if the investigators catch you doing something that you should not be able to do because of your work injuries, such as helping a friend build a deck, this footage can be used to terminate your benefits and deny your workers’ compensation claim.

Be Honest and Follow Doctor’s Orders

So what do you do, knowing that your employer’s insurance company may be watching you any time you are in public view, hoping to catch you in a compromising situation? The answer is actually quite simple: Be honest and follow your doctor’s orders.

In any workers’ compensation claim, the main goal is for you to recover from your injuries so that you can return to work to the best of your abilities. To do that, it is crucial that you be honest with your treating physicians about your symptoms and physical limitations. From a purely medical standpoint, the more accurate the information that you give your doctor is, the better he or she will be able to diagnose your injuries and come up with an appropriate plan of treatment to help you get better.

Once your doctor arrives at this plan of treatment, follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. If you are not supposed to drive, don’t drive. If you should not lift more than ten pounds, don’t do so. Taking your medical treatment seriously can help you heal more quickly – and it can also help protect your workers’ compensation claim.

And if you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing to treat your injuries, it won’t matter how many hours of video surveillance the insurance company has of you. The company cannot catch you in a lie that will hurt your workers’ compensation claim because you are not lying about your work injuries. Therefore, you can continue to collect the workers’ compensation benefits that you and your family need at this difficult time, and you can have the peace of mind necessary to focus your attention on what should be most important of all – your health.

Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

As you may see, factors about which you may not even be aware, such as video surveillance, can have a serious impact of the value of your workers’ compensation claim. For this reason, many injured workers might find that they could benefit from the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, like the Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers, Illinois’ largest Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury law firm.

If you have sustained a work injury or have questions about your rights under the workers’ compensation system in Illinois, please contact GWC today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.

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