Personal Injuries in the course of Mystery Shopping

I know there was a thread on this before, but I cannot find it - so I will start a new one (so I can get my quota of new threads per decade, which is like TWO) done.

I'm curious if anyone has ever had any experience with a situation where they were significantly injured on a mystery shop (physical injury) in the course of performing their mystery shop duties - from something that was negligent on the part of the company being shopped - but no negligence on the part of the MSC (e.g. it was a normal evaluation, in guest-facing areas that all guests would go).

I do not carry any workers comp insurance personally for my IC work, so I am going to presume that this would be a situation where my legal rights are similar to any other guest who might get injured on a property of a business.

For context - I was staying at a hotel, performing a mystery shop and there was a very unsafe hazard in the lobby which resulted in an injury to me. This happened coincidentally while I was actually checking the lobby for standards being met, one of which is NOT to have said hazard that ended up injuring me (ironic isn't it). The injury is significant enough that it will result in an urgent care visit, time off my regular FT job, and not being able to work out or exercise for a significant period of time.

I know I could seek damages as a guest of the property, but the wrinkle is that I was there doing a mystery shop for the property. Thoughts? Anyone had this happen? Anyone know where that old thread is?

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I do recall that thread. Maybe a couple years ago? Which would make it hard to find.

When you were injured, did you immediately notify the property? That's what any "real" customer should do. If so, they should have offered IMMEDIATELY to "make it right".

I believe it is irrelevant that you were there on assignment.
@ceasesmith wrote:

I do recall that thread. Maybe a couple years ago? Which would make it hard to find.

When you were injured, did you immediately notify the property? That's what any "real" customer should do. If so, they should have offered IMMEDIATELY to "make it right".

I believe it is irrelevant that you were there on assignment.

Yes, the property was aware (everyone was very aware) but it was not clear at that time what the cause of the injury was. Another guest pointed out the dangerous situation to the employee but at the time it all happened, I was not aware of how significant the injury was so I kind of brushed it off. It was on camera though, since it happened in the lobby.

I wouldn't pursue it legally - I might feel differently if I did not have good medical insurance and a job with tons of flexibility where I will get paid if I need to take time off.

It does bring up the point of ICs purchasing their own workers comp. I never would have thought about this, and for me - it wouldn't be worth the money, but for people with no other source of income and who do this FT, it might be a consideration.

In my head I kept thinking, "Oh jeez, now I am totally memorable... I'm going to get made as the shopper when they read the report..." it wasn't until later when I realized how significant the injury was that I started thinking about the other side of this.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2019 12:31AM by MickeyB.
1. Take care of you!!!!!
2. Thanks for the heads up about the insurance. Some people might need to consider this.
3. Take care of you!!!!!
4. Commune with an attorney who has oodles of personal injury experience. They will know how to proceed with all and sundry. Entering into a lawsuit might be necessary, unfortunately. It might compromise your anonymity and/or ability to shop at the location or its partners (whatever the definition of and extent of lost work opportunities may be)-- which may or may not matter to you as much as the extent and prognosis for the injury situation. Good luck! smiling smiley

With every book, you go back to school. You become a student. You become an investigative reporter. You spend a little time learning what it's like to live in someone else's shoes. - John Irving


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2019 12:34AM by Shop-et-al.
Aren't you well connected in the industry? Maybe one of your MSC owner friends can advise you. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
My thoughts are it doesn't matter what you were doing there, you were a guest of the hotel and had an accident.
I'm sure the hotel has Ins...have you checked that out and filled out a claim? Your Ins. could send them the bill or Dr.'s bills......no, this has never happened to me. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Live consciously....
Workman's comp laws vary from state to state.

Not sure it would even be relevent; workmen's comp covers employees, and, ironically, we aren't employees -- unless we incorporate and hire ourselves, I guess.
Yes, agreed... Workman's comp doesn't cover us - since we are not employees. The only exception would be Nevada of course. But, as a self-employed business, we can purchase our own "workers comp" insurance - which would cover us in these sorts of situations.

I personally will not be pursuing this legally, I am feeling better (though acknowledging that I have been given some good pain killers, so there is that...) but more importantly, this is not a severe enough injury that would be worth potential fall out with the client (it's a pretty major client for me - I do a number of shops for them per year). That is situational though - if it was a more significant injury or one that I was not going to fully recover from, or a less significant client - I might feel different.

Since I have some time (sitting waiting for the next doctor to come in) I took what was so helpfully suggested and queried a friend of mine that owns a MSC (not the MSC that I was doing the shop for) and she agreed that it is between the me as a "guest" and the business, though as a MSC owner she said she would absolutely want to know as soon as someone decided to take legal action and that she would understand the decision to pursue, but would like to be aware as obviously the report is going to be an issue when it is turned in.

Anyway - thanks everyone for the well wishes. I think it is an interesting discussion. The other factor one could consider is if the client is the actual person liable for the injury, or if that is a third party. I am actually not sure about this in this particular case - but many times the shop may be for the hotel brand, but the injury is caused by the owner/operator of the property which is often a franchise owner. In that case, there would seem to be no issue with going after the owner of the property.
I too have adequate insurance from another source to handle injuries wherever they may occur, but in the case of an injury there would be a form sent to me by my insurance asking if some other entity could be responsible for some/all of my medical expenses. Shop or not I would name the location where I was injured and let my insurance and their insurance sort out who got to pay what. Shop or not I would fill out an accident report at the location without ever revealing I was the shopper. I AM a member of the public when I am on their property--not their employee or the employee of the MSP.

I probably would not go after anybody for damages beyond medical care whether I was on a shop or not, though I feel sure a contingency lawyer would love to line his/her pockets by mounting a case and probably would name the client and the franchise owner just to have plenty of pockets to reach into.

If I had no health insurance or had a high deductible insurance I certainly would file an accident report and let the location's insurance cover my medical costs

If a MSP got their knickers in a twist about filing an accident report or my insurance making a claim against the property's insurance, I would lose all respect for them. I would notify the MSP of the accident/injury/accident report though aside and apart from any visit report I filed.
Just FYI, I am not being snarky, but it has been Workers' Comp for at least 20 year already. Yes, the laws vary by state.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I would not anticipate any issues with the MSP. They cannot show any preference to you, but they have no need to interfere in your process. Rather, the insurer might want to pursue this as far as they can. The higher the payout limit and the greater your loss, the more they can fight. I just hope that you will keep all options open. Just in case. So that you don't short-change yourself. Even though I believe in your resilience and hope for an excellent outcome for you. smiling smiley

With every book, you go back to school. You become a student. You become an investigative reporter. You spend a little time learning what it's like to live in someone else's shoes. - John Irving


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2019 03:34PM by Shop-et-al.
I fell stepping off the curb during a valet parking shop. I immediately (while still sitting on the curb) filled out the accident report. Since I did not have any medical expenses only aches, bruises and a black eye that is all that happened.
I believe your recourse is as if you're a customer just like everyone else. The fact that you're doing MS shouldn't matter unless you did something that put yourself in a harm at the direction of the MSC.
As a previous injury adjuster - be very careful how you describe this injury when you seek treatment. If your personal insurance company learns it was the result of an accident - they will deny the claim and indicate that you need to seek coverage from those liable.
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