Surveillance Evidence Key to Dismissal of Workers’ Compensation Claim
Obtained a decision denying and dismissing an original claim petition specific to an alleged lower back injury. The Workers’ Compensation Judge, relying on defense photo, video and testimonial evidence specific to the work site, determined that it was not possible the claimant had stepped off of a step into a drain hole as alleged. Additionally, the judge relied on surveillance evidence of the claimant tearing down a shed to discredit the claimant’s allegation of disability. Critical to this determination was the employer’s testimony about communications with the claimant contemporaneous with the surveillance wherein the claimant described himself as totally disabled. Finally, the judge credited the employer’s medical expert over the claimant’s treating physician that the claimant had no acute injury but, rather, a pre-existing and unrelated degenerative condition without any proven aggravation. The dismissal of the claim petition by the judge not only avoids potential long-term indemnity exposure, but also significant medical exposure as the claimant was scheduled for multi-level disc fusion surgery.