The Perils of Car Maintenance

Normally car maintenance is an activity that is good for morale and poses no threat to the individual providing care for his or her equipment. But a person claiming disability and attempting to collect Workers Comp benefits ought to know better than to clean a car, increase tire pressure,open and close garages and perform similar tasks. The potential of a large “gift” from Workers’ Compensation would incline the truly devious person to require such tasks to be performed by a spouse, a “significant other” or a hired hand.

Our subject claimed left arm, left leg and back injuries and was collecting benefits. She was reportedly using a cane. The assignment was for two days of surveillance.

The subject’s residence was one of ten units, not visible from the street. But the garage was right on the street and it turned out that our subject felt strongly in matters of vehicle maintenance.We were able to obtain footage of her checking air in all 4 tires, using a pump to add air to all 4 tires, and then washing the car. Or to be more accurate – the minivan. The stretching and contortions necessary to clean the roof of a minivan when you are 5 foot one inch tall require more than an absence of disability – true dexterity and great balance are a vital necessity. Needless to say, all this involves a lot of bending, crouching, twisting, stretching, use of the left arm in lifting, etc. No sign of hesitation or pain. Not a cane in sight.

Next we were instructed to get film of the subject’s arrival at the Workers Compensation Appeals Board, her departure from home prior and her arrival at home afterward. She left home without a cane, walking with no sign of pain. She arrived at the hearing and the cane came out of the trunk of the car. In all the time we had observed her, this was the first instance of the cane. Her gait for the first time developed a slight hesitation. But all that was short-lived. By the time she was home she was feeling fine, the cane went back in the trunk and she walked into her residence with ease.

Our subject was playing hardball and took this to trial before the Workers Comp Appeal Board. But when her attorney viewed the film, the matter settled for a fraction of the demand, saving tens of thousands of dollars.

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