Your attorney might recommend taking a break from social media while you deal with your work injury. Insurance companies routinely hire private investigators to look into claimants to make sure they’re telling the truth. They want to verify that you are actually hurt, that you’re as hurt as you say you are and that your injury is really work related. More accurately, they want to catch you lying or ignoring your doctor’s orders.

In the old days, it was harder for a private investigator to find out what people were up to behind closed doors or while out of town. Now, they have access to your life in a way they never did before. They can go on Facebook or Twitter and see how you spent your weekend and read what you’re saying about your life, including your work injury. It’s a big thing we caution our clients about. It doesn’t happen in every case, but if your injury is serious, it could happen to you.

If you’re caught doing something you shouldn’t be able to do with your injury or that your doctor said you can’t do, then your benefits will likely be at risk. The insurance company is doing all this to look for a reason to cancel or deny your benefits. It might cost them some money to hire these investigators, but it saves them much more in the benefits they don’t have to pay.

These investigators follow you in real life too, not just online. The best way to protect yourself and your benefits is to be honest with your doctor, follow your doctor’s recommendations, and don’t push yourself to do yard work or heavy lifting if you shouldn’t be doing that. And don’t use your time off work for anything that would look suspicious, like golfing or even playing baseball with your kid.

It’s frustrating that you worry about all of this on top of dealing with the fact that you are hurt. The financial strains and physical recovery are stress enough. But the reality is that the insurance company might be checking up on you, so you have to be honest and careful. If the insurance company is disputing your injury in any way, the fastest way to get back on track is to get the help of an attorney who goes up against insurance companies every day on behalf of injured workers.

By Michael Helfand