Off The Record: TRR Workers’ Comp Surveillance
Aimee: So, I got a notification yesterday from one of the carriers that they had surveillance on a client. He was riding his motorcycle, he’s got a back injury. So …
Bill: That seems to be pretty common lately — people riding motorcycles and caught on video surveillance. Look, the carrier is allowed to do so surveillance. Of course, there are privacy limitations that have to be considered, but, for the most part, they are allowed to follow you and see what you’re doing. And, the problem is when someone is portrayed in a video doing things that are inconsistent with their claim for disability. In other words, if you have somebody who says, “Well, I can only lift my shoulder this high. Otherwise, I’m in total pain.” And, they have video surveillance of them swinging the golf club like Tiger Woods or John Daly. Or if someone who says, for example, that they have terrible knee problems and they have to extend their leg all the time when they’re sitting down and they can’t climb ladders, or they can’t climb stairs, and they have video surveillance of them skiing. Those are pretty extreme examples but they do happen.
Now, with the example of someone riding a motorcycle, you now, some people will argue with you that it’s actually therapeutic and it’s good for their back. I think you’re gonna have a hard time convincing most judges at the Workers Compensation Board that that’s the case. So, my advice to people is assume that you’re under surveillance, number one, and don’t do anything outlandish. You gotta live your life, right? But as I tell people, there’s a big difference between you wheeling your garbage pail down to the curb and carrying a bathtub down to the curb. There’s a big difference between you carrying a little shopping bag out of Target and wheeling sheetrock out of Home Depot. Quite frankly, if you can do these extraordinary things, you probably shouldn’t be on disability. You should be working. But a lot of it is just common sense.
Aimee: Common sense. But some days, you do feel better than others. But I tell people, just be cautious and try and, like you said, you have to live your life but you also have to be cognizant of what you’re doing and not doing, you know, that’s not consistent with an injury.