Workers’ Compensation Discontinued for Man Seen Lifting Religious Pamphlets
When a person is injured on the job, some expect to receive compensation for a long time—or even the rest of their lives. This is rarely the case. Most injuries do not warrant long-term benefits. So when a person is seemingly disabled for an unreasonable amount of time, state workers’ compensation boards tend to get suspicious. They may send detectives and investigators to follow the injured person and see if they are truly disabled.
This was what happened to a man in Pennsylvania after he suffered a workplace injury in 2001. The man worked as a maintenance custodian for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. His job duties included driving forklifts and lifting heavy loads. In September 2001, he fell 10 feet through an open grate. He suffered multiple injuries and was deemed disabled. Based on his impairment rating of 35%, he received 500 weeks of partial disability.
In 2015, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority petitioned to terminate the man’s benefits. However, the request was denied because the judge claimed that the man continued to have cervical spine and shoulder injuries that prevented him from working in any more than a light-duty capacity. The judge also found that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority had no light duty jobs to accommodate the injured man.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority filed another petition for termination three years later when the man petitioned to modify his benefits to total disability. The man claimed that he suffered from neck pain that was sharp and constant and radiated to his upper body. He also experienced migraine headaches. The man’s doctor restricted him from lifting any more than 15 pounds. He was also limited to no overhead work and a limit of four hours of work per day. The man was also restricted from constant turning of his neck and could not use his arms repetitively.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority also submitted surveillance video showing the man, a Jehovah’s Witness, displaying religious pamphlets. He was also seen hauling a large suitcase and standing on the street corner. He was gesturing with his arms and hands without restriction. He was also seen carrying recycling and trash cans to a neighbor’s yard. The video footage also showed the man lifting a recycling bin over his head.
The workers’ compensation judge granted The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s termination petition. The man appealed the court’s decision, arguing that his doctor stated that there was no change in his condition. However, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court agreed with the workers’ compensation board and claimed that the man’s complaints of pain were no longer deemed credible.
Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation and disability payments do not last forever. There are situations in which a person’s medical condition can improve. Because of this, disability offices will perform reviews on a regular basis.
Many people take advantage of the situation, causing those who are legitimately injured to get their claims denied. Get help from White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer Michael Lawrence Varon. Schedule a consultation today by calling (914) 228-1770 or filling out the online form.