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Beware of investigators' tactics when on workers' compensation

Do you ever get the feeling that someone may be watching you?

If you're on workers' compensation due to an injury, that might not just be a random feeling. You may actually be under surveillance by an investigator hired by the insurance company.

Insurers naturally have an invested interest in catching people who make fraudulent disability claims. Unfortunately, investigators don't necessarily have a lot of scruples when it comes to how they get the evidence they use -- and a couple photos or a 60-second video may give the wrong impression of your situation.

In addition, investigators often deliberately set the stage to try to trick disabled workers into actions that will supposedly prove that they are exaggerating or faking their disability.

Investigators will set up what they call an "indirect," which is a way of coaxing a disabled worker into doing something that can be filmed or photographed and made to look as if it were something that the worker can do without any difficulty -- in direct contrast to his or her claims.

For example, some investigators will throw trash on a worker's front lawn in the middle of the night on trash night, knowing that the injured worker will see it and want to clean up the mess. They then snap a few photos of the worker -- whose back injury is keeping him or her away from the job -- bending over to pick up a few crumpled soda cans and other pieces of garbage. The photos seem like clear evidence that the back injury can't be all that bad, right?

What the photos don't show, of course, is that same worker spending the next three hours on an ice pack because of the effort or taking a handful of pain pills and muscle relaxants to try to calm down the pain caused by their efforts. The injured employee suffers -- but is still made to seem like a liar.

If you've been injured and are unable to work, you may need to be particularly cautious if your injury is something that is hard to prove on x-rays or other diagnostic tests. Consider talking to an attorney so that you can find out how to protect yourself against false accusations and unwanted intrusions. For more information on how our firm can help you with a workers' compensation claim, please visit our web page.

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