This June, a postal worker pled guilty to fraud in connection with a workers’ compensation claim that she had filed back in 2004. According to AOL Jobs, the worker had claimed she was unable to lift mail trays into trucks as a result of a work injury she sustained. She had been receiving benefits since 2005.
Unfortunately, it turned out that she exaggerated the extent of her injuries in order to receive benefits. Her dishonesty was discovered when she appeared on the Price is Right in 2009. At that time, she used her entire upper body to spin the show’s “big wheel,” revealing the fact that her shoulder injury wasn’t really as bad as she had claimed.
Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys know that in rare cases, people do exaggerate their injuries in order to receive workers’ comp benefits. However, these types of cases are few and far between and the majority of people receiving benefits for a work injury truly are impaired and need the help. Unfortunately, high profile stories such as this one have employers and workers’ compensation insurers constantly on the lookout for any signs that an employee may not be telling the truth.
While you should never exaggerate your injuries, you do need to keep in mind that employers and insurers may be looking for reasons to stop your benefits. As such, it is important not to do anything that could be misinterpreted or misconstrued to paint a false picture of the true state of your health.
Employers and Insurers on the Lookout For Fraudulent Workers’ Comp Claims
In the case of the worker who appeared on Price is Right, the woman who was accused of fraud not only appeared on the television show and spun the wheel but she also had a picture of herself on Facebook riding a zipline.
It is pretty rare for people to appear on the Price is Right (or other television shows) but almost everyone uses social media. Social media is thus commonly used as a tool by employers who are trying to catch people exaggerating their work injuries. This means that you need to be careful about anything that you post online, especially if your employer or insurer is trying to deny workers’ comp benefits or stop your disability benefits. Any pictures or statements that could be misinterpreted should be left off of your social media websites and you should never post anything that could jeopardize the work injury benefits that you both need and deserve.
In a lot of cases, people who have suffered severe workplace injuries- and especially injuries bad enough to prevent working- will try to put on a brave face on social media, not wanting to burden friends and family with constant complaints about how badly they are feeling. Remember, though, that if you are in this situation, your friends and family may not be the only ones looking. Be smart about how you use social media and if you have any concerns that something you say or do could jeopardize your right to work injury benefits, you should be sure to talk to a lawyer.
If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim– 1-888-367-2900.
More Blog Entries:
Industrial Accident Injuries Don’t Get Much Press, But are Very Serious, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, May 1, 2013.