Insurance companies and employers are constantly accusing workers of faking or exaggerating an injury or illness to claim workers’ compensation benefits to which they are not entitled. Here is an example of the lengths these companies will go to try to prove a worker is not really disabled as seen in a recent feature from ABC News.
News reporters accompanied private investigators who were conducting surveillance on a rural farm to catch the supposedly injured farmer engaging in any activities which tended to show was not truly as injured as he claimed. Investigators were wearing full camouflage, operating at night, and used night vision cameras and optics as part of their surveillance efforts.
The team then jumped from their SUV and attempted to covertly move through a rural field to get to a suitable observation post. The investigators waited hours until the sun had risen and literally danced with excitement as they captured the man appearing to carry some type of object which was about the size of shoebox into his pickup truck. As the reporter noted “it hardly feels like enough to call the farmer a fraud”, but the investigators proudly proclaim this is enough for them to start building a case against the man. They say they are interested in finding any proof that he may be working. It should be noted there have been no charges filed against this man or claims of workers’ compensation fraud as of the time the news feature was published.
There was no mention of how much money the insurance company paid to send a team of covert operatives to camp out in a field so they could see a man carrying a small box. As our Asheville workers’ compensation attorneys can explain, in reality the vast majority of injured workers who are awarded benefits have suffered a truly debilitating injury and are very much in need of benefits to take care of themselves and their families. It is also a reality that fraud amounts to a very small loss in profits to international insurance firms that collect trillions of dollars in premiums each year.
Not only do insurance companies go to extraordinary lengths to uncover alleged acts of fraud, they also go to great lengths to deny valid claims for benefits to people who are very much in need of workers’ compensation benefits. Insurance companies routinely try to undervalue workers’ compensation claims and deny claims whenever possible. While they know some will speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney and fight for the benefits to which they are justly entitled, many will not choose to fight back, or if they do, they will try to represent themselves in workers’ compensation hearings.
While you are legally allowed to represent yourself at a workers’ compensation hearing or appeal, without the assistance of an attorney, your chance of a successful outcome will be greatly reduced. One of the reasons for this is because insurance companies will often take advantage of an unrepresented injured worker as they know he or she is likely not familiar with the relevant law and procedural process.
If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
How These Private Investigators Catch Workers’ Comp Fraudsters in the Act , May 21, 2015, ABC News
More Blog Entries:
Shepard v. Dept. of Corrections – Continuing Medical Care, March 20, 2015, Asheville Work Injury Lawyer Blog