Workers Comp Benefits: NY Attorney Bill Turley Explains
If you’re out of work claiming or receiving workers compensation benefits, does the insurance company have a right to know if you’ve returned to work? Hi, I’m Bill Turley. I’m a partner at the office of Turley, Redmond and Rosasco. The answer to that question is yes. If you’re claiming a receiving workers’ compensation benefits, the insurance company does have a right to know if you’ve returned to work. And work means either working on the books or off the books, part-time, it could also mean volunteer work. Insurance companies do place injured workers under video surveillance. Now, in the past, they were generally kind of looking for people who were perhaps working off the books while they were collecting their benefits and not reporting it. But the stakes have gotten a lot higher because the benefit rates are higher. And now, what they’re looking for is individuals who are engaged in activities inconsistent with their claim for disabilities. That’s quite a mouthful, I’m gonna explain to you what that means by an example.
Let’s say that you’re claiming that you have a knee injury, and you can’t work because of the knee injury, the insurance company puts you under surveillance and lo and behold, they have videotape of you effortlessly skiing down the mountainside at a local ski resort, that could be very damaging to your claim and your credibility. The best thing is to just use your discretion and use common sense. You know, if you’re on workers’ compensation benefits, you’re not under house arrest you’re allowed to leave your house and go about your business. But again, you have to use your discretion. People always ask me, “Can I cut my lawn? Can I take out my garbage?” Again, it depends on what you’re claiming. If you’re claiming that you’re totally disabled and can’t do anything, it may be a problem if you’re under video surveillance cutting your lawn. Again, there’s also a big difference between taking out a small bag of garbage and going up on your roof banging in shingles. Again, discretion, common sense.
People ask me all the time about leisure activities, “Can I golf? Can I go fishing?” Again, it all depends. I’m gonna give you another example. Let’s say that you say you have a bad shoulder injury and you can’t work, and you have serious pain and serious restriction of motion in your shoulder, and yet the insurance company obtains a newspaper article from a local newspaper with a photograph of you getting the award for the longest drive in a local charity golf outing. Again, that could seriously damage your credibility.
Common sense dictates. What you should really do is consult your attorney anytime you’re in doubt. Why am I giving you this information? Because it’s important for you to know your rights under the workers’ compensation law. I’m Bill Turley, I want you to call me at 1-877-NY-DBLAW. Why? Because you’ve got questions and I’ve got answers. Thanks for watching.