Yes, you CAN go on vacation while on workers’ compensation. People are allowed to continue to enjoy their lives as best they can even with an injury.
However, workers’ compensation claimants who decide to go on vacation must consider the following: If you perform activities on vacation that you are supposed to avoid based on a doctor’s recommendation, you risk losing your workers’ compensation claim. Also, you should not miss or cancel any appointments, such as those with a doctor or physical therapist, just to go on vacation.
Staying within the restrictions requires smart and thorough planning. Even the most relaxing vacations can include some physical exertion. So, for example, if the vacation includes flying in an airplane, be mindful that there may be long airport lines to stand in. If the injury prevents a person from standing for a long time, he or she must be ready to make arrangements to sit down. Claimants with plans to take a vacation should also speak with their doctor and/or physical therapist beforehand. It is not unusual for someone to get a home physical therapy program and do exercises in the hotel room so they don’t fall behind on their rehabilitation.
However, keep in mind, Pursuit Magazine, an educational media publisher for professional investigators, says a red flag in a workers’ compensation claim gets raised “when an accident occurs immediately before or after a vacation.” Red flags consist of particular conditions or behaviors commonly found in fraudulent claims.
Insurers have been known to do surveillance on people who filed workers’ compensation claims, often by videotaping them while on vacation, or by hiring local staff to film the claimant if they are at a far-off location. If the workers’ comp claimant is observed or found doing things that he or she is claiming cannot be done because of the injury, then it can come back to cause that person to lose their benefits.
Claimants who go on vacation need to be very careful what they post online and on social media. Even the appearance of participating in a restricted activity can hurt the workers’ comp claim. Employers have been known to view the social networking sites of employees, looking for workers’ comp fraud.
Most importantly, let your attorney know your plans. A lawyer can also answer any questions on going on vacation when on workers’ compensation.