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Is somebody watching me? A guide to surveillance in work comp cases.

Written by Brent Eames

October 30, 2021

Technology seems to be advancing on a daily basis across the country.  Whether it’s higher powered cameras or GPS tracking technology, it is becoming nearly impossible for people to stay completely off the grid.   It should come as no surprise that when big dollars are involved, insurance companies will attempt to take advantage of technology to build defenses against injured victims with pending claims.  Should you be worried that someone might be watching you if you have a pending PEDA or workers’ compensation claim in Illinois?  The answer should be yes!  Keep reading to learn more about what Top Work Comp Lawyer Brent Eames has to say about surveillance.

SOCIAL MEDIA

One of the easiest ways for insurance companies and defense attorneys to try to track an injured worker would be through social media platforms, such as Facebook™, Instagram™, Snapchat™, or even Tinder™.  While seemingly harmless under normal circumstances, posting pictures or videos of an innocent night out or a fun vacation can be catastrophic for a person with a pending injury claim if this information gives the impression that you are not as hurt as you are claiming, or perhaps faking your injuries altogether.  As the old saying goes, a picture can be worth 1000 words.  So, if that picture or “check in” shows you living a happy and active lifestyle, it will be damaging to your case even if the picture does not tell the whole story of your life, or your recovery. 

It has become standard for defense attorneys to request a plaintiff’s social media information during the discovery process in civil lawsuits across the state.  Generally, a person’s social media activity portrays them in the most positive and happy light, and it will not tell the complete nor accurate story of a person’s recovery from an injury.  If you have a pending case, you should strive to limit any activity on social media which could potentially be damaging to your case.  If any activity is questionable, you should err on the side of not posting until your claim has resolved.   

PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS

Insurance carriers go to incredible lengths to deny and dispute benefits owed to injured victims.  One very common tactic which we see primary in workers’ compensation cases is the use of private investigators to covertly conduct video surveillance on injured workers in an attempt to catch them performing activities which would dispute their pending claims for benefits. When caught on surveillance and taken out of context, even the most mundane day-to-day activities, such as unloading groceries from an automobile, mowing the lawn, or walking the dog can become incredibly damning evidence to overcome to win a claim for benefits.

Given how common this tactic is for insurance companies, when out in public during a pending case, you should always assume that someone might be watching. It is important to take added precautions when performing your activities of daily living to make sure you are not doing anything which could potentially cause someone to question whether you are actually injured to the extent you are claiming. When in doubt, you should err on the side of caution, and you should not perform the questionable activities. You never know when someone might be watching and recording, and you may end up causing irreparable harm for your case.

Any questions about surveillance?  Contact a Top Work Comp lawyer Chicago at Eames Law Group, Ltd. to discuss your rights.

The Eames Law Group  is an experienced law firm that guides people who have suffered serious personal injuries and work accidents. They help first responders in Illinois gain their lives back after accidents, by managing medical bills and financial setbacks. Brent Eames is a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer who will help people obtain the appropriate compensation and medical assistance after suffering an injury. For more information, contact us to meet with the Eames Law Group and learn about the legal services they offer.

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