By now we’ve probably all seen those video exposes of people ostensibly disabled getting caught skiing, golfing, or working construction. Some of these folks are in fact, probably committing insurance fraud. However, some of them may simply have succumbed to the normal human urge to stop following doctor’s orders as soon as they begin to feel better. This is common enough that the Food and Drug Administration has a special page dedicated to telling America why this is a bad idea. We all should be following doctor’s orders for health reasons. Those of us involved in litigation, have extra reasons to take every pill, do every stretch, and show up for every appointment.
The main reason is that in many ways a lawsuit is like the social scene in junior high school. Someone is always watching and waiting for you to make a mistake, in which they can rub your nose until you finally drop out of school in embarrassment and run off to join the circus. Well, not that last part so much, but the attorneys for the other side will absolutely be watching for any mistakes, legal and otherwise. Insurance companies will absolutely leap on any sign that your injuries are less severe than you claim. And juries love to punish plaintiffs they think are trying to cheat. Nothing is going to hurt your chances more than a jury watching video some insurance company investigator has clandestinely taken of you jumping off the roof of your house after you finish re-shingling it.
As an injured plaintiff you probably know little about the law, so you can’t do anything about legal errors. That’s what you pay your attorney for. You can however, make sure that you are following the instructions given by your doctors. If you have been injured by the negligence of another you have every right to be made whole. Your attorney would love to help you do this, and in fact has spent an amazing amount of money and time learning how to do it right. However, he or she cannot do it if you fail to do your job. Which is almost always simply to get better.