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Massachusetts Appellate Court Uphold Usage of Video Surveillance in Work Injury Claim Appeal

Getting hurt on the job is a terrifying experience. While you are wondering whether your injuries are permanent, you are probably also wondering whether you are still going to be able to pay the bills as you focus on healing. If your injuries are permanent or long-lasting, you could feel the financial effects of the accident for months or even years to come. At Mass Injury Group, our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared to help you evaluate your potential claim. There are countless rules and steps that you must take before you are awarded benefits and insurance companies don’t always play fair. Call us today to start protecting your rights.

Recently, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case involving the role of surveillance footage of the injured worker in question. There are many instances where an insurance company will retain a private investigator to follow an injured worker and document them in their daily life to see whether they are really injured or to gauge the extent of their injuries. In the case, the appellate court upheld the lower court’s award of benefits based on surveillance footage that depicted the injured employee out fishing after the work-related accident.

The employee underwent an examination with an independent medical examiner who initially concluded that the worker could still work on a part-time schedule. Video surveillance from the insurance company, however, showed the employee fishing. This made the independent medical examiner change his opinion about the impact of the accident on the employee’s ability to work. The examiner testified after watching the video that the worker should be able to sit and stand for as long as six hours and that he was probably able to work for 30 hours each week. The judge accepted this testimony and awarded medical benefits based on it.

The injured worker appealed the award of benefits on the basis that the judge should not have relied on the surveillance footage in issuing an award of benefits. The employee said that the video did not properly admit facts into evidence and that it only depicted him fishing in a small boat for a period of three and a half hours.

The appellate court was not persuaded. It concluded that the independent medical examiner changed his opinion due to more than just the amount of time that the employee was standing in the boat. The video actually showed the worker doing many different activities including getting ready to start fishing, which included movements like bending and twisting. As a result, the appellate court upheld the lower court’s adoption of the video surveillance footage and examiner’s testimony.

If you were hurt at work, you don’t need to fight for the benefits that you deserve alone. The seasoned Boston workers’ compensation lawyers at Mass Injury Group will stand by your side and make sure that you understand how the process works at every turn. While you focus on healing, we will gather evidence and make sure that you are treated fairly. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential claim, call our office at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to learn more.

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