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September 8th, 2022

What Not to Do While Collecting Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Your benefits cost your employer’s insurance company money, possibly a lot of it. Money is their lifeblood, and they want to keep as much as possible. If you make mistakes and allow the insurance company to lessen or end those benefits, they may take advantage of it. You must consider protecting those benefits when you say and do things while collecting benefits.

When You See a Doctor

Always be honest with your doctor, physical or occupational therapist, or other healthcare professional. That means avoiding two extremes – lying to get more benefits and making yourself sound healthier than you are. Don’t exaggerate or lie about the pain, limitations, or emotions you feel. If you’re caught in a lie, you may lose your benefits

Most of us don’t want to burden others with our problems. When people ask us, “How are you?” or “How are you doing?” we rarely give them the truth. We instead falsely say that we’re OK or we’re fine. In a healthcare setting, that typical “happy talk” can become a problem when those responses are put into notes of your conversation. Your words make you appear healthier than you are, resulting in fewer benefits.

This advice also applies to independent medical exams by physicians paid by the insurance company or the state’s workers’ compensation commission. It’s not their job to help you, but if you’re not honest, it may hurt your chances of getting the benefits you need.

When Deciding to Follow Your Physician’s Instructions

You should follow your healthcare provider’s directions, whether taking medications, going to physical therapy, or limiting your activities. If you don’t, it will appear you’re not serious about your claim, you’re just “milking the system” for more benefits, and you risk losing them. You must do your part to recover as fully and quickly as possible. 

If you’re not comfortable with what the doctor is telling you, you should be open and honest about it with them. Discuss your concerns and allow them to explain why these directives are in your interest. If you have a fundamental disagreement with the doctor, you may be able to start seeing another.

When You’re on Social Media

Insurance companies and their investigators love social media. It’s one of the first things they turn to when they want to learn more about you. Social media is like being arrested – anything you say can and will be used against you.

Stay away from social media. If it’s become part of your life, strictly limit what you post. Don’t discuss your accident, health, limitations, feelings, or physical activities. You can write about, vent, or rant about family, friends, politics, sports, weather, neighbors, or anything that has nothing to do with your health, activities, or what caused your injury.

You should also avoid posting photos or videos of you being involved in something. There are many instances of people filing personal injury lawsuits or workers comp claims who claim they’re very physically limited and or in pain but post pictures of themselves enjoying a vacation, playing sports, or doing yard work. This contradiction makes them look like liars, and liars lose their benefits.

When You’re Out in the Public

It sounds creepy, but insurance investigators often follow people seeking or collecting workers’ compensation benefits. These investigators are trying to find out if you’re doing things you claim you cannot. They may be well-hidden or not, but if they’re following you, there’s a good chance they’re video recording what you’re doing.

If you state your knee hurts so much you need crutches, but there’s a video of you walking around Walmart without them or playing football in your backyard with your kids, you’ll lose your benefits.

Should I Hire a Schechter, Shaffer, & Harris, LLP Attorney if I’m Injured at Work?

Not getting the right legal help after a work-related injury may be a huge mistake. When you need a Houston workers’ compensation lawyer with years of experience, call Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. at 832-230-2199. Get in touch with our legal team today to get the benefits you deserve.

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