Pursuing a workers' compensation claim after sustaining a job-related injury isn't easy. Not only is the paperwork complex, the insurance companies who issue workers' compensation benefits must be convinced that your injury requires medical treatment and time off from work.
Having an attorney on your side to advocate for you can maximize your chances of receiving benefits to pay for your medical expenses and lost wages. Just because you begin receiving benefits, however, doesn't mean you're in the clear.
If you're out of work for an extensive period of time, the insurance companies may attempt to build a case against you in order to lower their own costs.
One case involving an employee of the New York State Department of Transportation is a clear example as to why you should be cautious about what type of activity you engage in while collecting benefits. The employee was injured on the job in 2017 and began collecting workers' compensation benefits shortly after. An investigation revealed that the employee, however, wasn't reporting to his place of employment — but was working at his own business.
As a result, his workers' compensation benefits were discontinued. But to make matters worse, he was arrested and faced the following felony charges:
- Grand larceny in the third-degree
- Insurance fraud in the third-degree
- Offering a false instrument for filing in the first-degree
How to avoid complications while collecting workers' compensation benefits
When collecting workers' compensation benefits in the State of New York, you are required by law to provide your insurance carrier and the Workers' Compensation Board with truthful information regarding any activities or employment you may be involved with. At best, failing to do so could result in your benefits being cut off.
Insurance companies will often gather evidence of your activities by hiring a private investigator or insurance investigator to conduct video surveillance on you. That means, every time you leave your house, your activities could be captured on camera and used as evidence. In addition, an investigator may speak with your neighbors, family, and other acquaintances in order to gain more insight into your level of activity.
An investigation may reveal if and when you are attending your medical appointments, as well as the activities you engage in on a typical day (running errands, shopping, exercising, etc.). If an investigation finds that you are working for another employer or are self-employed while collecting benefits, you could find yourself in trouble.
That's why it's absolutely critical that your claim is 100 percent legitimate and honest. Remember why you collect workers' compensation benefits: to cover your medical expenses and lost wages while you recover from an injury.
Here's what you should avoid when collecting benefits:
- Employment of any kind, including operating your own business
- Intense physical activity other than physical therapy
- Skipping doctor's appointments and hearings
Trust your workers' comp attorney
If you were hurt on the job, the legal team at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP Attorneys At Law will work tirelessly to help you receive the benefits you deserve, but we expect that you will do the right thing, as well.
For example, if you are suffering from back pain due to a job-related injury, engaging in intense physical activity and skipping medical appointments may not only hurt your claim, it can significantly stall your recovery.
If you have any questions regarding your claim or benefits, speak to one of our attorneys before making any other decisions. We have been handling workers' compensation claims like yours for more than 80 years. We know how the system works. Don't hesitate to contact us online. We serve the five boroughs of NYC and the rest of New York State.