Case Studies no. 1 – Surveillance

In consultation with our national client Virtual Intelligence was instructed to conduct surveillance observations for 20 hours with information provided by the client confirming that the injured worker was still employed at the insured on restricted duties due to an alleged injury which were a left shoulder and elbow.  General description plus details relating to a vehicle in which the injured worker was believed to drive were obtained. The observations were to be conducted outside of working hours. It immediately became apparent to VIS that the POI was driving another vehicle as informed however as a result of the VIS team conducting searches & inquiries and our investigator implementing a process of elimination, remaining diligent and patient until a confirmation of the current vehicle was identified. We were then able to confirm the current home residence which proved to be a large rural property situated in a difficult and isolated location. Discreet Surveillance over the weekend period confirmed on Saturday that the alleged injured worker to be working casually for another employer as a roof tiler, where hours of clear video footage was obtained of the alleged injured worker as he walked around on the roof and made constant use of his injured left hand and arm as he carried heavy buckets and using power and hand tools and further supporting his body during the activities whilst on the roof. On the Sunday the injured worker was also captured whilst at home as he mowed the lawns of his large acreage property where he constantly used both hands and arms to push and pull upon the lawn mower. This information was then provided to the client the following week and the matter was placed in waiting to confirm whether the claimant on his own free will would upgrade his certificate that week at his NTD review without the surveillance having to be revealed. The injured worker however had consulted his doctor and medical evidence was provided suggesting the claimant would require a further shoulder surgery as his injury was re-tearing; something the claimant stated was due to his work with the insured on restricted duties. Given it was then known by the client that the claimant was performing a lot more strenuous work and activities outside of the insured duties by conducting roof tiling work it was requested we conduct a further period of surveillance that weekend, a day following his consultation with his NTD. Over this weekend period whilst again not being able to take up a position to keep a direct view of the home residence, the injured worker was still captured on video, despite his reported pain in his shoulder the day prior, to make constant use of his left hand and arm performing exhausting tasks such as, cleaning his pool, watering the gardens, use an electric power tool to cut the front hedges, sweep the front pathways, rake the front grassed area, walk around the property carrying a pesticide bottle as he sprayed the weeds and use an electric power tool to blow all the leaves and lifted pieces of colorbond. As the evidence gathered confirms not only is the claimant working in excess of his approved hours but also engaging in strenuous activities outside of his said restrictions, it has provided the client with the evidence required to challenge not only the claimant’s current work status but also refute liability for a further surgery of the shoulder given he is engaging in much more strenuous activities outside of his return to work regime with the insured. We are lead to believe that the matter was referred onto WorkCover’s Fraud Department for investigation and prosecution.