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Is Your Insurance Company Spying on You? (Most likely, YES!)

Will the insurance company watch me if I have a workers’ compensation claim?

Based on my experience, and depending on your injury, yes they very well might. Some insurance companies will do anything they can to pay you as little as possible. Private investigators are still used in many instances, but with social media, it’s now easier to get information to use against you – even seemingly harmless information.

I had a client1 who was seen in a social media photo walking around and drinking with some friends while he had a denied claim for lower leg injury. One of the recipients copied on the picture was his boss. The boss claimed my client was seen walking in such a way that seemed to indicate he was not as injured as he claimed, so he reported this information to the insurance adjuster. That information, in part, led to the denied claim.

Why would my insurance company watch me?

The short answer is the insurance company is often skeptical of your injury and the extent of your disability and is likely to pour money and resources into efforts to determine if you are as injured as you claim.

For example, let’s take a situation where the insurance company has accepted your claim and is providing medical treatment and wages while you are out of work and treating for your injury. The doctor has you under restrictions of no lifting/pushing/pulling greater than 25 pounds and only occasional bending. Even when you are injured, it is still necessary to maintain some degree of a normal life. Usual activities for many of us include grocery shopping, picking up and dropping off kids, basic yard work, and household chores.

Many insurance companies in my estimation typically take the stance that you aren’t as injured as you have reported to the doctor and that they may be able to prove that by hiring an investigator to follow you and observe and record your activities. The investigator may follow you to the grocery store, park, church, restaurant, or simply park outside your home or neighborhood. They may observe and record you carrying a bag of groceries or a carton of milk, pushing a trashcan to the curb, or even bending over to put a leash on your dog to walk around the block. While these activities are not inconsistent with the restrictions your doctor has prescribed, video surveillance or still shots can oftentimes be misleading and taken out of context to give the appearance that you are performing physical activities in excess of your restrictions.

What the insurance company hopes to do with surveillance they have gathered is to provide it to your treating physician in an effort to get the doctor to release you. They may also use surveillance as a way to try and push you toward settlement.

Is it legal for a private investigator to follow me?

Yes, it is generally legal for a private investigator to follow you. Sometimes it’s business as usual in certain cases, as long as there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. That means that most evidence gathered in a public setting is considered to be legally obtained.  For example, they may observe you working in your yard or standing on your front porch as you are likely within public view under these circumstances.

Today more and more information is now obtained through social media.

Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

Our attorneys and staff at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin have seen an increase in electronic surveillance of social media sites by the insurance companies. We have seen some insurance companies use this information to try and embarrass our clients and diminish their potential for compensation.

The emergence of social media sites was just what the doctor ordered for insurance snoops. And snoop they will. They can use against you anything related to your incident that they are able to find online.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Google, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and even Snapchat.  Any site where you share information with others can be a treasure chest of information for the insurance company. Many use sophisticated software to troll for something  – anything – they can potentially use against you now or in the future. Just like some may use other means as illustrated in Insurance Companies Behaving Badly. (Some are even starting to use the information to potentially affect premiums clients pay.)

If you have been injured in any way, even if you don’t think you will file a claim, here are some helpful social media guidelines to try to keep the insurance companies out of your personal life.

While we strongly urge you NOT post anything about your injury on any social
media site, if you must post, follow these Dos and Don’ts.

DO

Set the Highest Privacy Settings. This means making sure that only friends can see your information, and not friends of friends or the general public.

Know Who Has Tagged You. You need to monitor your posts as well as posts from friends and others you may not know well who have tagged you. Be especially diligent about allowing what is portrayed about you on others’ sites. This is easily trackable.

Be Careful Who Your “Friends” Are. Accept friend requests only from people you actually know. Remove people you have as “friends” currently who are only acquaintances or people you don’t know or barely know.

Make Yourself Invisible. Remove yourself from Facebook search results by selecting “friends only” under search visibility in your profile settings.

Remove yourself from Google by going to your Internet Privacy Settings and unchecking the box for Public Search Listing.

Turn off Your Geolocation. All social media sites have a geolocation feature. Geolocation shows anyone where you are and what places you frequent. Unless you want the insurance company to know you were at the local pub the night of your accident, turn this off. Even if you were drinking ginger ale all night and were the designated driver, they may try to say you were drunk. Go to the section of all your social media sites or click on the location button before posting.

Be Extra Cautious. Assume anything and everything you write on your social media pages, including status updates, check-ins, messages, and wall postings will at some point be seen by the insurance company.

DON’T

Email, Post, Share, or Tweet Any Information About Your Case. Do not send emails to anyone except your lawyer or others at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin regarding your claim and its progress, or your health. Don’t share anything with anyone concerning your accident. Don’t even share information about how you feel as it relates to your accident. “Not to worry, I’m fine” may be a comforting post for friends and loved ones, but to an insurance company it means you are not injured. And they may try to use that post against you.

Join Web Chat Groups. You do not own the information you post online, and it is highly searchable. Do not post on message boards, participate in or comment on blogs, go into chat rooms about insurance or claims related issues. Do not create your own website or start your own blog about your experience.

Law Offices of James Scott Farrin Recovered Over $100 Million2 in 2016

We at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin work with you as part of your legal team in your fight against the insurance companies.

That involves engaging you as a partner in our collective efforts to try to win this fight – a fight we have fought for over 3,000 clients for whom we recovered over $100 million2 total in 2016 alone. Since 1997, we’ve recovered over $700 million2 gross for over 30,000 clients. And these numbers don’t include the $1.25 billion2 we helped recover against the U.S. government for 18,400 claimants in a historic class action case.

We’ve done this because we have lots of quality professionals. Over 40 attorneys, roughly 200 staff, and seven attorneys who are North Carolina board certified specialists in workers’ compensation law (a distinction less than 4% of NC licensed attorneys can claim3).

North Carolina Personal Injury Attorneys Evaluate Your Claim FREE

Always continue to follow the restrictions prescribed by your doctor at all times and in all settings – for your recovery first and foremost. But also, it is prudent to assume the insurance company is watching when you have a workers’ compensation claim.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident don’t post, tweet,
or share anything about the injury.

Call us at 1-866-900-7078 or click here to contact us. Just like social media, we’re available 24/7.

 

1Client identity has been removed or changed to protect privacy.

2Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin led a team of firms to recover $1.25 billion for African-American farmers from the U. S. government for discrimination.

3Figures from N.C. State Bar through December 2016.

 

Drowsy Driving as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

Driving drowsy might not seem like a big deal. There are no laws against it in North Carolina, and besides most of us have done it at one time or another.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of Americans say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third, have fallen asleep at the wheel. And these aren’t just exhausted working parents or single moms. Truck drivers. Business travelers. People with sleep disorders. Young people under 24.

Drowsy drivers are dangerous drivers. As dangerous as drunk drivers, often causing serious or fatal car accidents, according to AAA.

According to a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study drowsy driving is implicated in 100,000 car crashes per year, which leave 71,000 people injured and 1,500 dead says the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Drowsy Driving Causes 1 In 5 Fatal Car Accidents

A recent AAA Foundation  study found that one in five fatal auto accidents involve drowsy drivers.

The same study noted that missing as little as one to two hours of sleep doubles
the risk of being involved in a car accident.

The National Sleep Foundation reports that being awake for 18 hours is the same as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% – the limit for which you can get a DWI.

That is why many states have legislation on the books that make or will make “driving while drowsy” against the law. Currently North Carolina is not one of them.

How Little Sleep is Too Little Sleep?

Here is how much your risk factors increases the less sleep you get during a 24-hour period:

  • 6 to 7 hours sleep – 1.3 times greater risk of accident
  • 5 to 6 hours sleep – almost twice the risk
  • 4 to 5 hours of sleep – 4.3 times greater risk
  • Less than 4 hours sleep – 11.5 times greater risk

New AAA research shows that a driver who has slept for less than five hours has a
crash risk comparable to a drunk driver.

Warning Signs You are Too Tired to Drive

There are many indications that you might be drowsy or in danger of falling asleep at the wheel. Here, according to the National Sleep Foundation, is how to tell if you are too tired to drive and need to stop in a safe place and rest.

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
  • Daydreaming or having wandering or disconnected thoughts
  • Trouble remembering the last few miles driven or missing exits or traffic signs
  • Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
  • Feeling restless and irritable

Drowsy Driving Risk Factors

  • Sleep-deprivation or fatigue (6 hours of sleep or less triples your risk)
  • Suffering from sleep loss (insomnia), poor quality sleep, or a sleep debt
  • Driving long distances without proper rest breaks
  • Driving through the night, mid-afternoon or when you would normally be asleep
  • Taking sedating medications (antidepressants, cold tablets, antihistamines)
  • Working more than 60 hours a week (increases your risk by 40%)
  • Working more than one job and your main job involves shift work
  • Drinking even small amounts of alcohol
  • Driving alone or on a long, rural, dark or boring road

Warning Signs Another Driver is Too Tired to Drive

  • Vehicle randomly drifting between lanes
  • Car traveling at erratic speeds
  • Vehicle hitting rumble strip on side of road

What to do if You’re Too Tired

If you feel tired while driving, take the following steps to try to avoid causing an asleep at the wheel accident with another vehicle:

  • If possible, stop driving altogether and go to sleep in a safe place
  • Otherwise, take a 15- to 20-minute nap at a lighted, designated rest stop
  • Have a caffeinated drink in combination with a nap (caffine can take up to 30 minutes to kick in)

Adequate Sleep and Planning

Plan ahead before taking a long trip. Here are four simple steps to take to try to ensure you are well rested before you hit the road.

  1. Get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night if you are an adult, and 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours if you are a teenager.
  2. Bring someone along. They can share the driving, help keep you awake, and help you notice when you’re tired.
  3. Every couple of hours or 100 miles or so stop and rest. Get out of the car and stretch.
  4. It goes without saying, don’t drink alcohol in any amount, as it increases the effects of fatigue. And avoid taking medications that may impair your driving.

If You Are Involved in a Drowsy Driving Accident

If you are involved in a car crash caused by a driver who appeared to be asleep at the wheel before the crash, don’t wreck twice. Take the following steps to try to protect yourself:

  • Call the police and ask them to respond to the crash site.
  • Tell the investigating police officer you suspect the other driver was asleep.
  • Take photographs of the accident scene. Make sure to take photos of skid marks (or lack of skid marks) caused by the other vehicle. Lack of skid marks are often telltale signs of drowsy driving.
  • Talk to witnesses. If someone saw the crash, get their full name, address, email address, phone number and ask them to talk to the police at the scene as well.
  • Seek immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine. Sometimes you won’t feel the effects of injuries until the next day – or even longer.

NC Car Crash Lawyers Offer FREE Confidential Evaluation

If you have been injured in a car accident through no fault of you own, contact one of our experienced car wreck lawyers.

Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal
injury lawyer to represent them received 3.5X more compensation for their loss
than they would have on their own*.

For nearly 20 years, car accident victims in North Carolina have trusted the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin to handle their cases. Contact us or call 1-866-900-7078.

 

* Insurance Research Council 1999

Do I Need to Hire an NC Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

You’ve been hurt on the job. You need medical treatment. Maybe you’re out of work or working under restrictions imposed by your doctor as a result. Maybe your employer is paying you less while you’re working light duty. Your injury may mean you’re struggling physically, emotionally, and financially. And the insurance company – who may be more concerned with their profits than your well-being – is calling the shots.

This is an unfortunate but typical predicament and is among the many reasons the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin has grown to become one of the largest personal injury firms in North Carolina. People need us to help try to keep them from potentially being sidelined by the insurance company that may be looking out for themselves, not injured workers.

Why Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer?

Admittedly, sometimes in minor cases, you may not need a workers’ compensation lawyer. But many times in more complicated cases, where healing time may be longer, or your employer is pressuring you to come back to work before you’ve healed, or threatening to fire you if you don’t get back to work or you want a second opinion from another doctor, you very well may need a workers’ compensation lawyer to go to bat for you. The laws are just too complicated and nuanced, and the insurance companies, for the most part, know they have the upper hand because they know the laws better than injured workers. When you’re hurt on the job, employers and adjusters (the insurance company reps assigned to work on your case) may tell you that you don’t need to hire a lawyer. They may try to make you feel like they’re on your side and will look out for your best interests. But beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. There’s one thing they’re generally looking out for: Their own corporate coffers. Every dollar an insurance company spends on you is a dollar they don’t get to keep for themselves – or pass along to their shareholders. Do you really think when given the chance to pay you more or keep it for themselves, they will readily pay you more?

Experience tells me no. Not without a fight.

You vs. the Workers’ Comp Insurance Adjuster

The adjuster on your case may work on hundreds of cases with a goal of paying injured workers like you as little as possible. They know North Carolina workers’ compensation laws inside and out, and they know how to use and interpret these laws to their advantage. They also have access to corporate lawyers that they won’t hesitate to call upon to try to deny your right to benefits. For example, injured workers often call us after their employer and employer’s insurance company (with the help of their lawyers) order them to return to work. The insurance company and its lawyers may leave the impression that if you don’t return right away, your workers’ compensation checks will be cut off automatically. But this isn’t true, and the law doesn’t allow the insurance company to cut off your checks just because they want to. Of course, there’s no way for most people to know that unless there’s someone like us to tell them.

The bottom line? If you try to go head-to-head by yourself against an insurance company and their well-trained adjusters and experienced lawyers, you may end up potentially receiving less than you are entitled to under the law. That’s great for the insurance company, but bad for you and your family.

Even the Playing Field

There is a way to even the playing field. Hire an experienced North Carolina workers’ comp lawyer.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin work tirelessly to try to push insurance companies to meet their obligations to injured workers just like you. Like the adjuster assigned to your case, we spend all day every day on workers’ compensation cases. But unlike your adjuster, our goal – actually our passion – is to try to maximize your benefits, including wage benefits, medical treatment, and other payments and services you may be entitled to under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Many of these benefits your adjuster may never even tell you about.

Why the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin?

First, our firm was named one of the “Best Law Firms” for workers’ compensation by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® for the greater Raleigh area1 in 2017. That doesn’t happen by accident. So who’s on this team?

  • Former defense attorneys and paralegals for insurance companies who have worked inside the insurance companies, so they know what you’re up against.
  • More than half our workers’ comp attorneys are NC Board Certified Specialists in Workers' Compensation law. This is a NC State Bar certification denoting a high level of proficiency in a particular practice area, and less than 4% of licensed NC attorneys can make that claim2.
  • We have two former North Carolina Industrial Commissioners. The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) is the impartial agency that administers and enforces workers' compensation laws.
  • We have a former North Carolina State Senator who was elected to serve four terms. He also helped write some of North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws.
  • Many of our attorneys have been acknowledged by colleagues and peers. They are often asked to speak at seminars for other workers’ compensation attorneys. Others are accomplished authors of scholarly articles and two have received coveted awards for workers’ compensation, including Best Lawyers “Best Lawyer3” and NC Super Lawyers Magazine’s “Rising Star4.” One was named NC Super Lawyers Magazine’s “Super Lawyer5” three times and Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year6” for Raleigh twice.
  • Our attorneys are givers and champions of the underdog. Many of them join our side because they are advocates for those without a voice. And that is often the injured worker. Of our 13 workers’ comp attorneys, 12 are members of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of legal representation in our state. Many are active members in their communities – from teaching at local colleges, to counseling the Hispanic/Latino community.

Contact James Scott Farrin Soon After Your Work Injury

It’s never too early to contact us after being hurt. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin as soon as possible after your injury so we can try to answer questions about your situation. Any delay in contacting us could give your adjuster a chance to deny you benefits. After you explain the details of your injury and case to us, we can let you know if the time is right for us to partner with you to fight the insurance company. If it is, then we can get to work for you right away.

NC Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation

Of course, you don’t have to contact a lawyer, but based on our team’s 150 years of combined experience, it is almost always a good idea to speak with us about your circumstances. Our confidential case evaluations are free, and you may learn that you’re entitled to more than the insurance company is letting on.

If you’ve been injured in a work accident or know someone who has, contact us today or call 1-866-900-7078 to learn how utilizing a workers’ compensation lawyer from the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin could potentially benefit you.

 

1 Visit www.usnews.com for more information about criteria for inclusion.

2 Figures from the N.C. State Bar as of December 2016.

3,6 For more information regarding the standards for inclusion, visit www.bestlawyers.com.

 4,5 For more information regarding the standards for inclusion, visit www.superlawyers.com.

 

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

5848-100 Faringdon Place
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078