Don't Be a Star in Your Own Sub-Rosa (Hidden) Video
By Jill Singer, Esq.
Tabloid journalism—at least the concept behind it—has long been part of the Workers’ Compensation world in a major and dangerous way. You don’t have to be a superstar to get caught up in the fray. In fact, any injured worker is perfect fodder for the exploits of some employers’ insurance companies and their “inquiring minds.” After all, practically everyone has a smart phone with video recording capabilities, and you don’t want to be on the losing end of a sub-rosa lens.
Keep in mind, it is legal for the insurance company to hire a professional investigator to video record an injured worker anywhere in public, such as at a grocery store, outside church, driving a car, even merely walking in the front yard to pick up the mail.
There are ways, however, for injured workers to flip the script. For instance, it is imperative to have an open and honest dialog with your treating physician. This includes not only explaining in detail your work duties and any restrictions the injury may cause, but also—and equally as important—is the discussion about what you do in your free time—hobbies, sports activities, etc. Discuss all of these with your doctor so that he or she can guide you as to whether participating in these may be advisable or not given your present condition – even in a modified way.
In order to remain on the “right” side of your Workers’ Compensation claim, you must understand how your work restrictions translate into everyday living and act accordingly. By adhering to doctor’s orders at work and at play, an injured worker won’t be the subject of fraud allegations stemming from a sub-rosa investigative film. As long as you are truthful about what you can and cannot do, such videos shouldn't have an effect on your case.
As is always the case for those hurt at work, it is advisable to have the counsel of an experienced and knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation attorney who can help you avoid being a star in your own sub-rosa video, and ensure that you receive the full range of benefits to which you are entitled.