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Corporate investigations could affect work injury claims

Minnesota employees who file workers' compensation claims after sustaining injuries on the job may find that their employers or its insurers may subject them to surveillance. In some cases, this may occur in the form of looking at an individual's social media profiles. In other instances, companies or insurers might initiate investigations after receiving tips or begin digging through surveillance footage and other records to find out more about claimants' activities.

In California, the state-run workers' compensation fraud office discovered more than 5,700 instances of improper claims during the 2014 fiscal year, which led to more than 250 arrests. By looking at the kinds of images and data supposedly-injured people publish on social media, investigators may be able to find out information about people's addresses and whereabouts, the nature of their injuries and whether they gave the correct information in their claim applications.

In 2014, one woman faced criminal indictments after her social media account said she sustained a fall injury at a gas station next to her workplace. Because her injury claim stated that the accident occurred in her adjacent workplace's parking lot, however, she ended up having to spend months in jail for fraud, serve probation for two years and pay more than $2,000 in fines and court costs.

Those who suffer workplace injuries may encounter resistance from their bosses and insurance companies when they try to pursue claims even when they are valid. The tendency for companies to conduct fraud prevention investigations makes it imperative that injured workers file on time and have the necessary documentation to support their claim. An attorney can often be of assistance in this regard.

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Law Office of David M. Bialke
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