Recently a man was found guilty of workers' compensation fraud after a private investigator filmed him at the gym doing some serious weightlifting. Apparently he had a doctor's note stating he could only lift 10 lbs. Well, this video proves him wrong. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video is priceless!
Committing insurance fraud is against the law. This man's deceit and dishonesty cost him three years of probation, nine months of suspended jail time, and over $31,000.00 in workers' compensation benefits that he must pay back.
According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts (IFB):
"The most frequent types of workers' compensation claimant insurance fraud include:When you open a workers' compensation claim, you open the doors of your life, past and present, to the hands of the insurance company. The insurance company has a right to investigate your claim. This includes researching any prior claims, conducting a background check, interviewing family and friends, and even following you around throughout your day-to-day activities, taking notes, snapping photographs, and recording video. So that vehicle you see parked in front of your house and following you around...yup...that's a private investigator hired by the workers' compensation insurance company to investigate the legitimacy of your claim.
• Staged accident at work with a falsified report of injuries
• Working while collecting workers' compensation benefits
• Exaggerated injury claims with prolonged treatment
• Report of pre-existing or non-work related injury"
The insurance company is looking for anything and everything to disprove the extent of your injuries or even your claim as a whole. Investigating your claim can include going online to view your Facebook page or other social media sites. For reference, please feel free to check out our previous update, Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Enemies Closer: How Facebook and Other Social Media Can Affect Your Injury Claim.
According to Massachusetts law, a private investigator must be licensed. A private investigator should also register with the local police department.
Although a private investigator is not allowed on your private property, he or she can take as many photographs and film as much video as he or she pleases.
Here are a few tips when it comes to private investigators and your workers' compensation claim:
• Be truthful and honest. You never know when karma (i.e. private investigator) may take that award-winning photograph or video of you committing worker's compensation insurance fraud.
• Be cautious of social media. Keep your Facebook page and other social media sites free of postings, photos, and video that may call into question the extent of your injuries.
• Be yourself.