What You Say, Write and Do
Section 114-a (1) of the Workers’ Compensation Law provides:
If for the purpose of obtaining compensation . . . or for the purpose of influencing any determination regarding any such payment, a claimant knowingly makes a false statement or representation as to a material fact, such person shall be disqualified from receiving any compensation directly attributable to such false statement or misrepresentation . . .
WC carriers watch your every move. They scrutinize every statement (written or oral) you make to them, your doctors and the WC Board. If you lie or fail to report something important, you may be barred forever from collecting WC lost income benefits. Worse yet, you could go to jail.
WC carriers look to see whether you withheld information that is important and relevant to your case. For example, if you are claiming that you recently injured your knee at work, did you tell someone that you injured that same knee playing sports three years earlier?
WC carriers use video surveillance now more than ever before. With incredibly small video cameras, they can watch you around your home and in your community. If you believe someone is following you, DO NOT confront the person. Rather, call the police and they will confront the person.
Be careful. Many of our clients have been videotaped on the day of WC hearings and on the day of medical appointments, particularly appointments with the doctor seeing you on behalf of the WC carrier.
WC carriers regularly monitor social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, You Tube and LinkedIn. A female client with a shoulder injury reported to us that she was called by the WC carrier after they viewed her Facebook page and saw a photo of her lifting her young son. The photo was taken months before the accident, however, it was posted online after the accident. Another client’s case was scrutinized carefully because he regularly posted to You Tube videos that he had made depicting him being involved in motor cross and other physical activities.
Here are very real examples from cases we have handled:
“Don” was collecting WC lost income benefits. He consistently told his doctor that he was unable to work.
The WC carrier videotaped Don leaving his home and going to his friend’s car repair business every day for several hours. Don claimed that he “hung around and drank coffee” and did not work for his friend.
The WC carrier videotaped Don in the business waiting on customers and performing some repair tasks including changing a tire. The Judge found that Don lied about his work activities and was forever barred from collecting WC lost income benefits.
“Mike” was collecting WC lost income benefits. He consistently told his doctor that he was unable to work.
The WC carrier videotaped Mike performing roofing work. Mike was charged with a crime and pled guilty to criminal fraud. He was forever barred from collecting WC lost income benefits.
“Andy” was collecting WC lost income benefits based on alleged injury to his neck that happened at work. He denied that he had ever injured his neck before.
The WC carrier checked his past medical records thoroughly. Andy was found guilty of fraud after it was determined that he withheld information about significant medical treatment he received for his neck BEFORE the accident at work.Currently, we are defending a fraud allegation against our client who was asked to do some brief yard/house work for an elderly neighbor. Even though he did not earn any income– and his activities were within his restrictions—the WC carrier has argued he has committed fraud by engaging in these “work-like” activities.
TELL THE TRUTH.
DO NOT HIDE RELEVANT INFORMATION.
DO NOT ENGAGE IN ACTIVITIES THAT VIOLATE THE RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY YOUR DOCTOR.
DO NOT ENGAGE IN ACTIVITIES THAT ARE INCONSISTENT WITH WHAT YOU TELL YOUR DOCTOR, THE WC CARRIER OR THE JUDGE.
ALWAYS DISCLOSE TO THE WC CARRIER ANY WORK ACTIVITIES (PAID OR UNPAID), WORK-LIKE ACTIVTIES, VOLUNTEER WORK AND ANY INCOME EARNED BY WORKING.
Contact us if you have any questions.