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State Board of Workers’ Compensation Scrutinizes the Credibility of Injured Workers

If you have been hurt in a work-related accident, you should be very careful about what you share on social media, as well as the activities in which you engage when in public – and by “in public,” we mean any occasion in which you could be visible to a surveillance company hired by your employer to observe your activities and physical condition.

No, we haven’t been reading too many George Orwell novels. The reality is, if your work injury has caused you to miss work for even a few weeks, someone may be watching you. If your daily activities and social media postings conflict with your claimed limitations from a work injury, you can bet the administrative law judge will hear about it when your case proceeds to a hearing.

Facts of the Case

In a case decided by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation last year, the employee was a truck driver who was involved in a collision during the course and scope of his employment. His employer terminated his employment on the same day. The employee filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The employer admitted that the employee was involved in an accident but denied that he was injured or suffered any disability as a result.

Finding of the Workers’ Compensation Board

The administrative law judge denied the employee’s request for income benefits, medical treatment, and attorney’s fees. The judge first observed that there were several different versions of how the employee was removed from his truck after the accident. At different times, he had said that he had been extracted through the broken windshield of his cab by two passersby who left the scene before police arrived, that he was helped out of the truck by the fire department, and that he had “self extricated” from the truck.

The court also noted that there was surveillance evidence of the employee showing that he walked without visible difficulty and was able to position his cell phone between his head and shoulder and that the employee’s Facebook posts indicated that he attended a baseball game during a time in which he claimed to have been at home resting. In addition, there was “some internet evidence” supporting a conclusion that the employee had an online business during a period he said he was unable to work.

Based primarily on these conflicts in the injured worker’s evidence, the judge reached the conclusion that the employee was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Subsequently, the appellate division of the board agreed, affirming the administrative law judge’s award (noting that the judge was in the best position to determine the credibility and weight of the evidence) and highlighting the importance of the injured worker’s credibility in disputed workers’ compensation claims.

Seek Legal Assistance from an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you are suffering from a work injury, you need to talk to an attorney about your claim immediately. As this case shows, the insurance companies play hardball, particularly in cases involving commercial truck drivers. To protect your right to fair compensation, you need an experienced attorney looking out for your interests. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices of T. Andrew Miller, LLC, will be glad to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation. Call us at 678-605-9109 to set up an appointment to discuss your Atlanta area work injury case.