Workers’ compensation fraud is serious business, but that doesn’t mean that everything a workers’ compensation investigator schemes up or puts in front of a court is actual fraud. Sometimes, looks can be deceiving.
Unfortunately, injured workers are often their own worst enemies these days. Where investigators may have once relied on tricks like having a heavy box delivered to someone’s house in order to get a photo or film of the victim of a back injury bending down to look at it, they now can gather their best evidence right off an injury victim’s social media pages.
Maybe you don’t think there’s any reason for your employer to be suspicious of you, since you’re genuinely injured. However, you should learn some things that insurance companies call “red flags” that indicate workers’ comp fraud.
- You don’t answer your employer’s calls during the day.
- You were previously injured or took leave for other medical issues before the most recent injury.
- You’ve used family leave recently for another emergency.
- You have a “personal” beef with your supervisor, boss or the company (which could be entirely in someone’s imagination).
- Another employee believes you are “gaming” the system.
In other words, forget the idea that you might be at physical therapy during the day and then sleeping, not answering your phone is obviously a sign you’re out fishing when you should be home sick.
Nobody has ever had a co-worker, of course, that seemed jealous of the fact that they were home on sick leave. You’re practically guilty before you start collecting a check!
So, how do you protect yourself? There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of an investigation.
1. Learn to work your privacy settings. Investigators hired by your employer’s insurance company often rely on the fact that people don’t know how to use privacy settings on their social media pages.
2. Don’t post photos of yourself. A photo of you smiling at a backyard barbecue, for example, could be “evidence” that you weren’t in serious pain from your injury.
3. Ask your friends not to tag you in photos or post photos of you. Explain the situation and let them know that they could damage your livelihood.
4. Don’t post status updates that discuss your health, vacation, trips to the store or anything that might be considered an example that you are healthier than you claim.
Remember that it’s easier to simply avoid posting while your workers’ compensation claim is active.
Source: Business Insurance, “Workers compensation fraud investigations: Old school meets new tools,” Margaret Everett, Crain’s Cleveland Business, accessed Feb. 21, 2018