Michigan attorney shares lessons from over 40 years of practice in the area of workers’ compensation law and explains what happen when trial goes wrong.
Yesterday’s blog post was a warning from Alex Berman to avoid the appearance of exaggerating or faking. How surveillance video of normal daily activities can be used by insurance companies to ruin credibility and destroy a workers’ compensation case. Here is a sad example of what happens when trial goes horrible wrong.
What prompted me to write this series of blogs is an incident which recently occurred during trial. I was attempting to convince a magistrate that my client’s wage loss and medical benefits, which had been recently terminated for no apparent reason, should be reinstated immediately. She was suffering and needed help badly.
This client had been on workers’ compensation for nearly 10 years, with a disabling pain condition, making it impossible for her to work and function on a daily basis. She even had a surgically implanted pain pump, prescribed for only the most severe types of conditions.
Through the years of treatment, many excellent doctors agreed that her condition was real and her severe pain symptoms prevented her from doing even the simplest tasks. When she testified, she seemed honest and genuine about all of her problems. Two witnesses supported her complaints, as well as her treating physician in a prior deposition.
But when it came time for her to be cross-examined by the attorney for the insurance company, her workers’ compensation case fell apart. The first, and only, witness for the defense was a private investigator who brought video recordings of my client doing many of the things she swore she could not do. She was filmed on several days and at many different locations. Everything she was seen doing contradicted her sworn testimony at trial, and that of other witnesses, who were her family members.
This video surveillance was the end of her workers’ compensation case because credibility was gone. Not only would she never again receive wage loss or medical benefits, but the insurance company wanted to file criminal charges against her and relatives for insurance fraud.
This, fortunately, is a very rare event, but shows how aggressive insurance companies will be when it comes to video surveillance. In this case, they likely saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in future workers’ compensation payments. It also reinforces their narrative that people are out to abuse the system.
When I handle a case and especially during trial, I put all my faith and efforts into my client’s cause. I felt betrayed by my client who had not been truthful with me. I also felt great sympathy for her because she had real problems and there was nothing else that could be done. It is a sad situation that I hope to never repeat again.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 201-9497 for a free consultation today.