You might expect investigators to be vigilant when checking up on the activities of workers whose workers’ compensation case they are administering. What you wouldn’t expect is that they would be so vigilant as to incite the family of an injured worker to file a lawsuit against them.
That’s what happened recently in Connecticut. A woman who was so fed up with the aggressive tactics and harassment from the third-party firm who is administering her husband’ workers’ compensation claim filed a diversity action against them.
The plaintiff is the spouse of a Connecticut Department of Corrections Employee who had earlier filed for workers’ compensation benefits because of an alleged work-related injury. According to the plaintiff, after her husband sought benefits the defendant got a little too enthusiastic about surveillance of her family. She claims that they were chased by the defendant’s representatives at speeds up to eighty miles an hour while her daughter and grandfather were in the car and then a few days later they were followed to Rhode Island while on a family camping trip. The defendant’s agent tailed them all the way to their campsite and took pictures of the group. The plaintiff is also alleging that defendant’s employees conducted further additional surveillance of her family home and that their actions have caused her emotional distress.
The firm then filed a motion for summary judgment -in other words, a judgment entered by a court for one party and against another without a full trial– while citing exclusive remedy, which was shot down by the federal district court. The court found that there were circumstances cited in the suit that negate summary judgment, and that the workers’ comp administrator wasn’t subject to exclusive remedy in this case. Exclusive remedy provisions, in a nutshell, protect employers from common law suits by employees. Most states have these provisions in their workers’ compensation statutes, and they’re in place to protect employers from large tort awards (in case you were wondering, a tort is a wrongful act that results in injury to a person, their property, or their reputation, and which entitles an injured party to compensation).
In this particular case, the district court found that the Connecticut legislation hadn’t meant for insurance carriers and their representative to be exempt from all torts in connection with the handling of claims. The case will move ahead to trial.
Have you or your family encountered trouble from overenthusiastic investigators as a result of your Georgia workers’ compensation claim? Have you been doubly injured as a result? Contact Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney Michael Moebes for help with your case.