Injured Workers Under Watch on Black Friday?
The holiday season means many things to many people. To most of us, it means creating lasting memories with friends and family. It means the joys of exchanging gifts and good will. And, of course, it means eating too much of the wonderful food which surrounds us during the holiday season.
To others, it means a chance to trap an unsuspecting injured worker. One investigative firm sent out an e-mail to its potential customers, noting that “Black Friday is the weekend to hire a P.I. for surveillance.” We all tend to overdo things during the holiday season, whether it is shopping or eating. Often, we pay the price for either the next day.
Unfortunately, however, a surveillance tape only shows that day. A Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) will not see the injured worker in bed for the next three days because he or she was trying to live a somewhat normal life for a day. Many in the insurance industry feel that if a worker is disabled, he or she must be bed-ridden. They fail to realize the toll a work injury takes, not only on the injured worker, but on his or her entire family.
Who could blame an injured worker for trying to live a normal life, and do normal things? For, perhaps, overdoing things for a day? Yet, there is no doubt that some injured workers will be shown on tape shopping, and then litigation will follow, jeopardizing their workers’ comp benefits.
While we would never tell an injured worker to stay huddled in his or her home, never to leave or experience society, we would advise caution when out in public. Listen to your body. If you are standing or walking too long and you feel pain, stop and sit or lie down. Before you lift something that is going to hurt, think about what you are doing. Remember, what is seen on video comes without explanation. A WCJ cannot feel your pain. Be smart and listen to your body this holiday season (and always).