You may remember the case of former PM Julia Gillard’s house keeper’s workcover claim for an injury she sustained to her back while straining to fit a sheet on Julia Gillard’s king-size mattress in 2012. The house keeper had initially some issues with her claim, also re-injured herself and now it turns out that she was accused of “fraud” by means of surveillance. However recently the AAT overturned the decision of Comcare to cease her claim for compensation. The article gives some worthy tips re surveillance.
If you are an injured worker with a (potential) serious injury application and/or a common law damages claim with a Facebook account, you really need to read this article. No matter what privacy settings you use on Facebook, you must assume that everything you post will be viewed by the workcover insurer defense lawyers. And, what’s worse, your Facebooking can also be used to demonstrate your ability to undertake an office, or computer based job!
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.
When surveillance material (e.g video) is sent —by the workcover insurer— to an Independent Medical Examination doctor (IME) or a Medical Panel for commentary/opinion/assessment, basically the surveilled injured worker is entitled, by law, to explain (alleged) “inconsistencies” between the surveillance video and the injured worker’s medical history/restriction.
For those who still don’t believe social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube AND public OR ‘private, secure’ forums are as dangerous as we claim, here is yet another warning, submitted by “Ready to Kill”via ‘share your story‘.
Former cops suffering post-traumatic stress are routinely subjected to intrusive surveillance by insurance companies. A leading lawyer has now called for an end to such tactics.
A timely warning to all injured workers out there, remember that workcover fraud investigators and private investigators believe that “the [Christmas] holiday period often provides some tremendous surveillance opportunities.”
WorkCover insurances and their hired fraud or private investigators are spying on injured workers’ social media in increasing numbers. Intensive surveillance of Facebook postings, tweets, YouTube videos, photo sharing sites etc. are all being used in an attempt to untangle “a web of lies” and discredit any injured worker. In fact it is now standard practice for them to run computer searches and investigations to obtain information about your personal life.
Many injured workers find it really creepy to think (or even sense) that a workcover private investigator may be following them around, taking secret pictures and filming their ‘activities’ without their knowledge or consent.
In wokcover cases, the defense counsel (insurer and their lawyers) has been allowed , for years, to use covert video surveillance to challenge the injured worker’s testimony in court regarding the extent and severity of his/her injuries. Allowing the injured worker to use the same surveillance means to challenge the testimony of a defendant’s chosen doctor (IME) on the same issue by exposing the thoroughness (or often lack thereof) of the IME’s examination of the injured worker should, in our opinion, also be routinely accepted.