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  • Eric Santoro

They Could Be Watching You!

Insurance Companies Use Surveillance Tactics to Uncover Fraud

By Eric Santoro

Managing Partner

Santoro Law Firm LLC



It is very common for workers’ compensation insurance companies to hire private investigators to follow injured workers around and record their activities. And it is all perfectly legal!

If a workers’ compensation insurance company is paying someone weekly benefits, especially for an extended period of time, the likelihood the insurance company will hire a private investigator increases.


After all, they don’t want to continue paying a claimant in a workers' compensation case forever.


If they catch an injured worker doing something that may indicate they have a work capacity, they could attempt to stop paying benefits or even refer the matter to the Worker’s Compensation Fraud Unit.


Where would a private investigator record an injured workers’ activities? One of the most common instances is yard work. If you are totally disabled and can’t work because of a work-related injury, should you be mowing the lawn? Does mowing the lawn indicate you could at least do some type of light duty work?


Of course, these are things that an injured worker should discuss with the authorized treating physician in their case (often an orthopedic specialist) ahead of time and follow the doctor’s advice.

Some people might think, “Well, I live in a remote area in the middle of the woods.” But more and more private investigators are now using drones to perform surveillance.


Another common place a private investigator may record an injured worker is in a grocery store.


Everyone has to eat, and although many people have turned to ordering groceries online ahead of time or home delivery, many people still go to the store to buy their groceries. If you are injured and out of work, should you be lifting grocery bags in and out of a cart and into your car?


Again, these are questions that injured workers should discuss with their authorized treating physicians.


The moral of the story is that workers' compensation insurance companies can and often will have you followed. Claimants should always discuss what they can and cannot do with their treating physicians. And, of course, follow common sense.

 

Eric Santoro is Managing Partner of Santoro Law Firm LLC, with offices in Waterford CT and Norwich CT. For more than 20 years, he has been representing injury victims in the State of Connecticut. He has been a Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist in the State of Connecticut since 2012. He is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Executive Committee, the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association and the New London County Bar Association. He also acts as an Arbitrator for the Connecticut Superior Court in New London.​