If you were at Harold’s Chicken & Ice Bar last night about midnight, you might have heard me perform Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” at karaoke night. It sounded exactly like this, in fact:
I chose this song because 1) it’s underrepresented on karaoke nights and 2) it’s relevant to my law practice. The latter is true because insurance adjusters love surveillance, even though 95% of the time, it’s a waste of time and money (in my experience and observation when doing defense work years ago). That said, it’s wise to be aware of your likelihood of being watched if you file a workers’ compensation claim (or other injury claim) to avoid giving an incorrect perception of your injuries and abilities.
If you have recently applied for workers’ compensation benefits, you can almost certainly expect that a private investigator is watching you. Adjusters hire these folks to catch you making a “wrong move” with the goal of suspending your workers’ compensation benefits or discrediting you with your treating doctor (who will already be cynical toward you if he’s someone to whom you were sent by the workers’ comp insurer).
When leaving the house to drive your child to school, there may be somebody outside of your home hoping to get video footage of you lifting up your child into his car seat, or even something as simple as taking out the trash. Once you leave the home, a detective may even follow you to catch you in the middle of some form of physical activity that could result in a cancellation or suspension of your benefits. Often times, the insurance companies know exactly where you are going and when you will be there, since they schedule your doctor’s appointments. The investigator may be sitting across from you in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, looking like another patient, but they are watching your every move.
Just as you tell your children to be wary of the stranger in the overcoat advertising free candy by the playground, I would avoid small talk or other interactions with strangers whom you may see at medical appointments or around your home if you’re in the middle of litigation. Instead, yell, “STRANGER DANGER!” and call the police. I’ve found this to have amusing results when I tell the opposing attorney about it (or, better yet, when I hear it from the opposing attorney).