Spying on injured workers out of control

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Injured workers and motorists (in Tasmania, but we believe in every state really) are increasingly being subjected to intrusive, costly and potentially unlawful surveillance, Slater and Gordon Hobart lawyer Brian Hilliard said, in an article published in The Mercury.

Spying on injured workers out of control

Spying out of control

By David Killick
Mercury
May 19, 2015

Insurers trying to catch cheats are going too far and ­invading the privacy of innocent people, says a senior personal injury lawyer.

Injured Tasmanian workers and motorists are increasingly being subjected to intrusive, costly and potentially unlawful surveillance, Slater and Gordon Hobart lawyer Brian Hilliard said.

Workers compensation and Motor Accidents Insurance Board claimants were rou­tinely subjected to arranged filming, which breached people’s privacy and was arguably illegal, he said.

“Spying on injured workers has become so prevalent in Tasmania that anyone who is severely injured as a result of a workplace accident should ­expect that they will probably be under surveillance,” Mr Hilliard said.

“Surveillance is also commonly ordered by the MAIB in their management of claims by injured motorists.

In my experience, the overwhelming majority of people on compensation are genuine and motivated to recover. Some are so badly injured that they cannot return to work.

“While they are trying to ­recover from a major injury, they do not need the added stress of being followed around. They are already under enormous stress.”

MAIB chief Paul Kingston said the board was required by law to ensure that it was paying benefits to claimants that were reasonable and only where the claimants’ personal injuries resulted directly from a motor accident.

“In determining if a ­requested treatment is reasonable, the MAIB obtains ­appropriate and relevant information,” he said. “Where there is reasonable doubt as to the veracity of a claim, the MAIB may utilise contracted ­providers to undertake appropriate forms of surveillance.

“The MAIB requires providers to be licensed and to undertake all surveillance in line with relevant laws.”

Mr Hilliard said improving technology was increasing the intrusion.

“Surveillance operatives are using sophisticated cameras to film people in places where they could reasonably expect privacy. In one of the most ­extreme cases I’ve come across, the wife of an injured man was secretly filmed through her bedroom window.
“Insurers may well believe they are doing nothing wrong as long as they are not trespassing on private land, but the fact they use high powered zoom lens to film people in the privacy of their own homes is, in my opinion, wrong.”

He said the money being spent on surveillance should be used to improve safety and help Tasmanians recover.

 

[Source: http://m.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/spying-out-of-control/story-fnj4f7k1-1227359463049]



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33 Responses to “Spying on injured workers out of control”

  1. I have come across claims where more than 50k has been spent on each file for surveillance (NSW) this money could have been spent on appropriate rehabilitation for injured workers. The entire system is backwards

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    • The idea of surveillance is simply to scare injured workers out of making claims – period. And of course that’s the precise reason why injured workers MUST ALWAYS make claims. Workcover and insurers are simply not interested in workplace health and safety – if they were, there would be fewer injuries happening in the workplace and employers would have to listen to employees about occupational health and safety issues. But I guess that would be too easy.

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      • Dear Just Me,you are right they don’t care all those ads on tv etc are all crap that’s for the public to be fooled.They make toooo much money out of injuried workers and thatsn all we are for eg look at some or most of the IME doctors they make a large amount of their income out of us.

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        • not sure if I told you guys this but its good for a laugh I was walking 3 or 4 times a week then going to the pool but one day I had my granddaughter with me it about a 6 kl walk but I needed to keep my legs moving no matter how much pain I just keep going they new that ,this day we walked down but stopped at subway and got lunch never looking around because I did not know this went on till I got on this sight well on the walk back I spotted a car ,I had already seen this is a country town ,we had to walk up hill a killer for me the car was up ahead this time parked on the side we would walk past. Charlotte was only 3 years old at that time she said nanny that car is here again who is that lady I said I don’t know well god help me Charlotte runs over puts her head in the window and yells who are you and what are you doing HEHEHEHE I could not run but we are on a hill as I got close she had cameras and lots paper work the silly woman even had a magazine up to hide her face but with Charlotte hanging in the window repeating the same thing over and over if you have kids you know what I am talking about she got very upset tossed the magazine over the camera and told miss to move I called Charlotte and the car took off, I do worry do they have photos of my granddaughter with all these sickos it is a worry for us , but you gotta laugh a 3 year old spotted the same car .Things are so bad that I really never leave the house anymore my hubby drives me to our sick daughters and I don’t go walking anymore so there is not much left to take from me I just stay away from everyone it does not help my depression its been about 2 yrs since I was going to end it all I had it with them . I hate QBETMF I wish them no good things they act like they pay you out of their own pocket a pack of low life bastards

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  2. I think most of us have been under surveillance at one time or another, a must have is lace or similar curtain’s in your home during the day and full curtain’s or blinds at night. Another tip is to draw them if you leave your home during the day.
    I recently went on Workover payments again and couldn’t believe the next day I was followed in the car! I thought to myself ‘You’ve got to be shitting me’

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    • Surveillance and Drones:
      Just wondering what the laws are (not that I expect WC to abide by them). I live SW Vic in the country on a friends farm. It is not my property and I am a guest. (Even though my WC address is to this farm my real address would read; down the bottom paddock, thru the trees and past the dam, left to the caravan-close the gate). Now if WC send out PI’s to spy on me, are they allowed to spy on their house/ family that have been so caring and rescued me from living in a car. Are they allowed to spy on any activities on their property?? It is almost impossible to see the house let alone my paddock squatting. We get less than 10 cars a WEEK down the road. If they used drones (since the entire place has solid boarder of 30mt+ trees), the owner (my “Lawyer Mates” relative) and myself had agreed they will be shot down if flying over his property. What Sh*t would hit the fan if that happened?? Any thoughts or ideas.

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      • Dear Madchef,if you shoot down the drone they will just send another one my advice keep the gun loaded and keep shooting.

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      • From my experience the PI’s they hire don’t care to much about trespassing on private property, think of them like druggies who wouldn’t bat an eyelid to break into your House to steal valuables and sell.
        If they happen to fly a drone over a Farm frightening livestock they should expect to be shot down just like any other pest that puts the animals at risk.

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        • I suspect PIs come from criminal backgrounds. Have a read of the book ‘STALKED’ – a true story written by Chris Smith (2GB) commentator and investigative journalist. I’m sure you’ll be able to recognise some of the tactics used by the stalker – similar with PIs indeed.

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      • MadChef, I think you are dreaming and watch to much television.

        Drones to conduct surveillance on suspected insurance cheats – no way buddy.

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  3. The Investigator I was having in order to get surveillance footage, may I say absolutely inconclusive footage of me supposedly working in a Garage Workshop, actually parked his vehicle on the footpath adjacent to the said Garage Workshop in a School/No Standing Zone directly in front of the big ass School Zone sign that was inclusive of both those said zones.
    He then made damming suppositions in his surveillance report as to what he thought may have been going on, that would certainly match the brief from his client.
    What he didn’t realize was that he was being observed by myself, others throughout his entire time there.
    The insurer has now used this surveillance, report to their advantage in successfully appealing an Approved Medical Specialist’s (AMS’s) engaged by The Workers Compensation Commission Medical Assessment Certificate (MAC) of 16% impairment that WAS in my favor.
    I was afforded no chance to rebut this bogus surveillance footage/report as the Workers Compensation Commission’s Appeal team of IME’s Dr Robert Gertler, Professor Nicholas Glozier declined a re-examination of me on the strength of the surveillance footage/report, made the decision to award me instead a 7% impairment.
    Is this situation a valid point to take on the Insurer, the Workers Compensation Commission’s Appeal Panel in an appeal to the Supreme Court?
    Should this Surveillance Footage/Report be out-rightly dismissed as evidence due to the fact the Surveillance was not undertaken in line with relevant laws such as the Investigator that obtained the so called Surveillance Evidence illegally parked to obtain said bogus evidence.
    Absolute Wolfs

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  4. Hi
    I was interested in reading these articles, as I myself was recently the subject of surveillance. Unfortunately for CGU they hired cowboys who proceeded to follow the wrong person… It was an IME that raise the alarm as to the identity of the person in the pictures, as he believed it wasn’t in fact me. My lawyer decided to go to the media and they published my mistaken identity story. Since then CGU have stepped out of line and tried to get me to agree to an investigator coming to my home for me to do an affidavit for them, even though they are aware I have a lawyer and should now only be in communication with her…..

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    • @Amanda, praise to that IME! Great to see there are still a couple of decent, honest ones!

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  5. In the process of fighting an IME report on my husband – I have requested an “independent” assessment be conducted by a Dr. of our choosing – does anyone know of a fair Dr. in Perth WA?

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    • Hi Maggie

      I can most probably help you. I’m a lawyer who does PI work and I know a lot of doctors. What sort of injury does your husband have and who was the IME doctor (what speciality)? You can contact me privately if you don’t want to mention his/her name publicly.

      Regards
      Paragon

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      • sounds like you’re a lawyer really on here looking for business

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        • what did u think he was doing, that he was some lonely lawyer sitting around with nothing else to do but ‘help’ people on here out of the goodness of his heart and make some new friends? of course he is ultimately looking for new clients that why he asks anyone that is in WA to get in contact with him. he wouldnt be wasting his time on here if he didnt think there was the opportunity to get business. its a classic marketing tactic to generate new client leads.

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          • @William and @Nicki -As a matter of fact I am NOT taking on new clients at all. I have an arrangement with workcovervictims diary to provide pro bono advice. As such, your attitudes -William and Nicki are disappointing and disgraceful, and hardly in the spirit of what the Legal Questions section is all about. If this is the reaction I get from genuinely trying to help someone in need then I will withdraw from offering any advice. I can do without such insulting attitudes.

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            • last email is addressed to Nicki and DAVID (not William).

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              • @David & Nicky – you’re both absolutely disgraceful in attacking Paragon. Paragon and aworkcovervictimsdiary have gone to great lengths to make available a real lawyer to our injured readers, a lawyer who is indeed willing to give legal guidance out of the goodness of his/her heart,for FREE. NO STRINGS attached and we do not advertises his/her services, nor does Paragon. Perhaps re-read Paragon’s comments carefully. If you cannot appreciate the combined efforts of getting a PRO BONO lawyer on board on this site, then please refrain from visiting this site and crying for help. I am deeply ashamed at your pathetic unfounded comments towards Paragon, and in doing so towards us (aworkcovervictimsdiary).
                Take this as a final warning – anyone who attacks, insults or undermines Paragon will be banned from further commenting on this site.

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            • Hi Paragon, it’s nice to have you on here. Thankyou in advance for any advice needed. There are also a lot of frustrated injured workers on here who are being done over by the whole worker comp system. Just saying, so hope you wont take offense.

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  6. Paragon,

    I note it is illegal for lawyers …
    [admin- comment way over board and taken as an INSULT to aworkcovervictimsdiary]

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  7. Phil – it is really a pity that people such as you and Dave, who have probably been hurt by the system, should take such an utterly cynical view of lawyers who offer pro bono advice. My offer was to provide an injured worker with a name of a good IME in Perth, hardly the sort of advice for which I can be held liable. However, I prefer anonymity so that I will not compromise the working relationships I have to have with insurance lawyers. I offer to meet with those for whom I cannot remain anonymous and whom I have to provide with legal opinions and I do this without fee and without taking on any new clients. Believe me I already carry a overburdened workload and I’m by no means interested in touting for new work, and I am taking no new clients. Your scepticism is grossly misplaced and Dave – you will find that there are lawyers, such as myself, some who have themselves been victims of w/comp insurers and who would like to give something back of his/her experiences on both sides, i.e. as lawyer and as ex-injured worker. I am disappointed at the cynical and frankly insulting way my offer to help has been received in this forum by rude commentators who believe that there is no such thing as an altruistic lawyer. If you think you are outing a fraud or someone with ulterior motives then I think its a great pity that a person with much information to give should be chased so rudely from this forum. My contact details have been available through the host of this site. My earlier response was to feel insulted, but now I just feel disappointed for you and for the workers who really do need obligation-free legal direction and who are chasing this away.

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  8. Why would a lawyer with a full time job be wasting their time posting on here unless there was the potential opportunity to get a referral or two? It would be naïve to think otherwise. If I was a busy lawyer I wouldn’t waste my time on here giving free advice unless there was the real potential for me to get some new clients and work out of it. ‘Paragon’ claiming some charitable saintly purity of motivation is silly. Better to be upfront with people and say hey I’ll give a bit a free advice in return for being allowed the opportunity to have any injured workers in WA put in contact with me or referred exclusively to me by the site operators. As long as people know the arrangement and you’re upfront about it and your motivations then people don’t have a problem. It’s when you claim otherwise and it is at odds with any commercial reality and/or what people feel you appear to be really doing, that’s when it gets people’s back’s up.

    Just be upfront and then there is no issue.

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  9. @CGUSux. I have been an injured worker and almost lost my life because of my treatment at the hands of insurers. Yes, I am a busy lawyer with little time on my hands but unlike you I do not think that offering my spare time to give assistance is a waste. This is how I choose to spend some small amount of time per day. I am not professing sainthood, but I certainly never expected to be trolled for wanting to try and give something useful and hopeful to the injured workers who cant afford to get the advice offered.

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    • Not everyone is motivated by greed or an ulterior motive, that is what I believe. How many of you have almost lost their lives to this atrocious system, if you could help someone in their time of need wouldn’t you?

      Thank you Paragon for doing just that…

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  10. Dear Paragon,please I would like to sorry for the behavior of others and iam asking you to stay on this site as I and many many others need your valuable advice,and would like to say thank you for taking the time to help us all.

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    • Yes, Paragon, I also feel very ashamed for the way some idiots have attacked and insulted you. I am also very grateful that you are a lawyer who tries to make a real difference to injured workers, many of whom can no longer afford legal guidance, let alone legal representation. It beggars belief why these people question your credibility and motive. As for the authors of AWCVD as I have said before, if it was not for your existence and help I would have lost even my sanity, and probably my life.All my best wishes to Lisa, hope she comes out of hospital soon and I feel so sorry for her. From memory I think she’s had to be admitted 4 or 5 times this year alone. I admire Lisa, she is my hero and I just don’t know where she finds the energy to continue to help people like me. For nothing. Same as Paragon. I take my hat off to you all.

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