Technology is everywhere these days - people are using cell phone cameras on a regular basis, video cameras can easily be carried in a pocket or purse, and more and more companies are setting up video cameras in and around their businesses. These cameras are generally used to help contribute to the safety of employees and the bottom line of the company, as in the case of preventing theft by employees or vendors. But what if you are injured on the job and the company uses video surveillance footage to fight your Florida workers' compensation claims? This new approach illustrates the need to have an experienced workers' compensation lawyer in your corner because employers will do all they can to avoid having to pay for a workers' comp claim. Several recent cases have involved the employer entering the footage from company surveillance cameras as a defense in order to show that workers are lying about the extent of their injuries. The employers are trying to prove that the worker either "isn't really injured" or is making more out of their injuries than they should be. This new tactic means that employees will need to be able to explain everything they do after an injury claim is filed, both at work and on their personal time. As an example, in a recent workers' compensation case in Illinois, the employer entered video surveillance footage of an injured employee being able to get in and out of his car, being able to walk into a store, and being able to squat down to pick something up. The employer claimed this footage showed that the injured worker was making more out of his back and shoulder injuries than necessary. The employee's lawyer argued the employee's case and the worker was ultimately awarded disability benefits for 187 weeks. Video surveillance from the employee's place of business isn't the only type of video surveillance that can be used to discredit your Florida worker's compensation claim. Companies are also using video footage that has been shot by private investigators. Often, this footage can be taken out of context such as when a person has mobility issues due to pain, but is able to move fairly well after taking pain medication. If a video was shot after the pain killers had been taken and the injured worker was able to move more freely, the company would try to claim that the employee was faking. What does this mean for your workers' compensation claim? Keep in mind that, even if your employer tries to use video surveillance to try to discredit your claim, the workers compensation judges will listen to both sides of the story. However, to be sure of the best outcome, be sure to hire an experience workers' comp attorney. Your attorney is on your side and will make sure you get the benefits you deserve for your injury, for future medical treatments, and for loss of wages. Remember:
Your employer and their insurance company will not be on your side. They will want to settle your claim for as little money as possible and will be looking out for themselves, not for you!
You have the right to hire an attorney to help look out for you. If you do hire a lawyer, make sure you hire one that has extensive experience with Florida workers' compensation claims. They must be very familiar with the Florida workers compensation laws because these laws are complex and are amended by the Florida Legislature annually.
An experienced workers' compensation attorney will know how to address video surveillance if it is requested or entered in your case.