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Lights…Camera…Termination: Surveillance Footage Wins Best Picture
Claimant was involved in a compensable work accident in 2016, when he was operating a construction vehicle that crashed and turned over, resulting in injuries to his head, face, neck, and back. Claimant was paid a substantial period of total disability benefits. On March 30, 2021, the Employer filed a Termination Petition seeking to terminate total disability.
Employer’s medical expert Dr. Gelman testified that at his defense medical examination, Claimant presented with a rolling walker and singled prong cane, moved slowly, dragged his left foot, and had trouble straightening his left leg. Surveillance footage, on the other hand, showed claimant walking without any limp, climbing into and out of a pickup truck, walking briskly, and not using any assistive devices. Based on this evidence and his examination, Dr. Gelman felt claimant could work in some capacity. Claimant’s medical expert, Dr. James Zaslavsky, testified that claimant could not work, surveillance notwithstanding, as it was his understanding that claimant did not take his medication on dates he was to be examined, which could have explained his worse presentation.
Claimant interestingly “doubled down” and testified at trial that he did not walk without a cane or walker, despite what was clearly shown on the surveillance. The Board issued a Decision indicating that they agreed with Dr. Gelman and the Employer, and granted the Termination Petition.
Should you have any questions regarding this Decision, please contact John W. Morgan or any other attorney in our Workers’ Compensation Department.
Joseph Frederick v. A-Del Construction Co., Inc. and/or Colonial Trucking, Inc., IAB Hrg. No. 1440955 (Dec. 2, 2021).