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Pearson Koutcher Attorney Jonathan B. Koutcher Defeats Termination Petition For Injured Worker Caught On Surveillance

  • Jon Koutcher
  • 11/04/2013

An injured worker was caught on surveillance performing activities over the course of two days calling into question his claims of disability. As a result, the Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier filed a Petition to Terminate his benefits. In a Termination Petition, the employer must establish that the injured worker has fully recovered from all injuries and can return to full, unrestricted duty. In this case, the physician retained by the insurance company, particularly after reviewing the surveillance video, felt the injured worker had fully recovered. The injured worker was represented by Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer Jonathan B. Koutcher of Pearson Koutcher Law. Mr. Koutcher obtained testimony from the injured worker’s treating orthopedic surgeon and was able to present evidence the workers’ compensation judge felt was more credible than the evidence submitted by the employer.

We previously wrote a blog about the resources an insurance company has at its disposal, including surveillance, to threaten the injured worker’s receipt of worker’s compensation benefits. Any time an injured worker claims disability resulting from a work injury, surveillance may be performed. An injured worker may be captured on film while going to the supermarket, getting in/out of a car or simply going up/down steps. Since surveillance can be costly, insurance companies will often perform surveillance when the injured worker is attending an independent medical evaluation or has a court hearing: the insurance company knows the date, time and location when the injured worker will be at the exam or hearing, making the surveillance activity easier to perform and cost effective for the insurance company. However, keep in mind that if the investigators do not find anything suspicious, they may try again weeks or months later.

Surveillance can occur at anytime, especially when you may not expect them be watching. Avoid talking about your daily activities with people. After filing a claim, your employer may try to get information from your co-workers about where you like to go in your spare time. Investigators may go to these places to check up on you. Always follow your doctor’s instructions. If you are caught doing something that you were told not to do, and are not consistent with your restrictions, the insurance carrier will argue you have the ability to perform activities greater than you restrictions.

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