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Will I be Under Surveillance if I File a Work Comp Case?

Updated: Feb 15


Sub rosa investigations are a specialized aspect of workers' compensation claims.
Sub rosa investigations are a specialized aspect of workers' compensation claims.

Filing a workers' compensation claim can be a stressful process, especially when you're facing the physical, emotional, and financial challenges that often come with a workplace injury. While the primary purpose of the workers' compensation system is to provide financial support and medical care for injured workers, there are instances where insurance companies may initiate sub rosa investigations. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the concept of "sub rosa," explain the circumstances in which it might occur, and help you understand your rights throughout the process.


Demystifying Sub Rosa Investigations

Sub rosa investigations are a specialized aspect of workers' compensation claims. The term "sub rosa" is derived from the Latin phrase "sub rosa camera," which translates to "under the rose," symbolizing secrecy and confidentiality. In the context of workers' compensation, a sub rosa investigation is an examination conducted in a discreet or undercover manner to gather information about a claimant's activities, behaviors, and physical condition.


Understanding the Goals of Sub Rosa Investigations:

Sub rosa investigations primarily aim to:

Verify the Validity of a Claim: Insurance companies use sub rosa investigations to ensure that the information provided in a workers' compensation claim is accurate and truthful.

Assess the Extent of Injuries: Investigators seek to determine whether the claimant's injuries and limitations align with the activities and behaviors observed during the investigation.

Identify Fraudulent Activity: While most workers' compensation claims are genuine, fraudulent claims can result in significant financial losses for insurance companies. Sub rosa investigations serve as a tool to identify and prevent fraudulent activity.


When Might Sub Rosa Investigations Be Considered?

Sub rosa investigations are not conducted routinely for every workers' compensation claim. They are more likely to be employed in specific situations, such as when:

1. Inconsistencies Exist:

If there are inconsistencies in the claim, including conflicting statements, disparities in medical records, or questions about the circumstances surrounding the injury, it may raise suspicion. Sub rosa investigations may be used to address these inconsistencies.

2. High-Value Claims:

Claims that involve a substantial financial payout may receive more scrutiny. Insurance companies want to ensure they are not paying out more than is necessary. Sub rosa investigations can be seen as a way to protect their financial interests.

3. Lengthy Claims:

Claims that take an extended period to resolve may be subjected to sub rosa investigations to verify the ongoing necessity of benefits. Insurance companies want to ensure that the benefits they are providing are still warranted.

4. Tips or Anonymous Reports:

Sometimes, tips from coworkers, neighbors, or anonymous reports may trigger sub rosa investigations. These reports could suggest that a claimant is engaging in activities that contradict their claimed limitations.


Your Rights and the Legal Framework

As a claimant, it's crucial to be aware of your rights and the legal framework surrounding sub rosa investigations. While these investigations may seem invasive, they must be conducted legally and without infringing upon your rights. Here's what you should know:

Privacy Rights:

Your right to privacy remains intact even when you file a workers' compensation claim. Surveillance should be conducted in public areas where you would have no reasonable expectation of privacy. It should not involve wiretapping, hacking, or any other illegal intrusion into your private life. If you believe your privacy rights are being violated, consult with your attorney.

Access to Surveillance Records:

You have the right to request any surveillance records related to your claim. These records can help you and your attorney assess the nature and extent of the surveillance conducted. You can use this information to build a strong case and refute any inaccuracies or misconceptions.

Disputing Inaccurate Findings:

If the surveillance uncovers activities or behaviors that are misrepresented or misinterpreted, you have the right to dispute these findings. Your attorney can assist you in presenting a more accurate picture of your daily life and limitations. This way, you can avoid having your claim denied.


Common Surveillance Methods

To prepare for sub rosa investigations, it's helpful to understand the common surveillance methods that may be used. Being aware of these techniques can help you better navigate the process:

Video Surveillance:

This method involves the use of video cameras to record a claimant's activities. Surveillance investigators may observe your daily life, including your movements, interactions, and physical capabilities.

Photographic Surveillance:

Photographic surveillance involves taking photographs of the claimant in various settings and situations. These photos are used to document your activities and physical condition.

Social Media Monitoring:

In today's digital age, insurance companies and investigators often monitor a claimant's social media presence. They may look for posts, photos, or updates that could contradict the information provided in the claim.


Vehicle Tracking:

GPS tracking devices may be placed on a claimant's vehicle to monitor their movements and whereabouts. This method can help investigators assess whether you are engaging in activities that are inconsistent with your claimed limitations.


What to Do If You Suspect Sub Rosa Investigations

If you suspect that you are the subject of a sub rosa investigation, it's essential to remain composed and take the following steps:

1. Document Everything:

Keep a detailed journal of your daily activities, including any changes in your condition, pain levels, or activities that you believe may be observed. This journal can serve as crucial evidence in your favor.

2. Follow Your Doctor's Recommendations:

Adhering to your doctor's recommendations is not only essential for your recovery but also for the validity of your claim. Attend all medical appointments, therapy sessions, and any prescribed treatments.

3. Consult with Your Attorney:

If you suspect sub rosa surveillance, inform your attorney immediately. They can guide you on how to proceed, request surveillance records, and ensure your rights are protected. Barsoum Law has a dedicated legal team that works tirelessly to ensure that our clients obtain the compensation they deserve.


Staying Informed and Empowered

Knowledge is power when navigating the workers' compensation process and potential sub rosa investigations. Here are some additional tips to stay informed and empowered:

Stay Updated on Workers' Compensation Laws:

Understanding the workers' compensation laws and regulations in California can help you make informed decisions throughout your claim. It's also essential to be aware of any changes or updates to the law. Learn about workers’ compensation FAQ’s here for a starting guide. Here’s another good site that provides FAQ’s to help understand and stay updated on Workers’ compensation topics.

Seek Support from Advocacy Groups:

Various workers' compensation advocacy groups can provide resources, guidance, and support during your claim. Connecting with these groups can help you feel less isolated and more empowered.

Prioritize Your Health and Well-being:

Remember that your health and well-being are very important. Focus on your recovery and follow your doctor's advice to improve your chances of a successful claim.


Conclusion

While sub rosa investigations can feel intrusive, it's important to remember that they are a tool used to verify the validity of workers' compensation claims. By being truthful and accurate in your claim, consulting with an attorney when needed, following medical recommendations, maintaining open communication, and attending required examinations, you can navigate the workers' compensation process effectively.


The workers' compensation system is designed to provide support during challenging times, and your health and well-being should always be the top priority. Stay informed, stay empowered, and never shy away from seeking the benefits and support you rightfully deserve. If you believe that you are being subjected to unjust or invasive sub rosa investigations, consult with a workers' compensation attorney to protect your rights and ensure a fair resolution of your claim.


As you navigate the workers' compensation system, remember that knowledge is your greatest asset. By understanding your rights, the legal framework, and the potential for sub rosa investigations, you can confidently pursue your workers' compensation claim. Let's summarize the key takeaways from this guide:


· Sub Rosa Investigations Purpose: Sub rosa investigations are conducted discreetly to verify the accuracy of workers' compensation claims, assess the extent of injuries, and identify any fraudulent activity.

· Triggers for Sub Rosa Investigations: These investigations are more likely to occur when inconsistencies exist in a claim, the claim involves a substantial financial payout, the claim takes an extended period to resolve, or there are tips or anonymous reports.

· Your Privacy Rights: Even during a workers' compensation claim, you have a right to privacy. Sub rosa surveillance must adhere to legal boundaries and respect your privacy rights.

· Access to Surveillance Records: You can request and access any surveillance records related to your claim, which can be valuable for building your case.

· Disputing Inaccurate Findings: If surveillance reveals misrepresented or misinterpreted activities, you have the right to dispute these findings and present a more accurate picture of your daily life and limitations.

· Common Surveillance Methods: Familiarize yourself with the common surveillance methods, including video surveillance, photographic surveillance, social media monitoring, and vehicle tracking.

· Actions When Suspecting Sub Rosa Investigations: Keep a detailed journal of your activities, adhere to your doctor's recommendations, and consult with your attorney if you suspect sub rosa surveillance.

· Stay Informed and Empowered: Stay updated on workers' compensation laws, seek support from advocacy groups, and prioritize your health and well-being throughout the process.

· The Workers' Compensation System: Remember that the workers' compensation system is designed to provide support during challenging times, with your health and well-being as the top priority.


While sub rosa investigations may introduce a level of complexity and concern into the workers' compensation process, they are an essential tool to maintain the integrity of the system and prevent fraudulent claims. By being informed, proactive, and truthful in your claim, you can navigate the process with confidence and protect your rights.

If you encounter these types of investigations or face challenges in your workers' compensation claim, consulting with an experienced workers' compensation attorney is a wise step to ensure your rights are upheld, and you receive the benefits and support you deserve. Your attorney can guide you through the process, advocate on your behalf, and help you achieve a fair resolution of your claim.


If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, Barsoum Law can and will help. We have represented thousands of injured workers throughout California for the past 25 years. Contact us today at 877-299-1555 or info@barsoumlaw.com to schedule a consultation with a member of our team. Also, visit workercompla.com for more information.

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