Last Wednesday, November 2, F&P associate Mike Bennett won a defense verdict in a jury trial in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, MD. The claimant had filed an appeal of a September, 2015 decision from the Workers’ Compensation Commission which found he had achieved Maximum Medical Improvement and denied his request for treatment and ongoing Temporary Total Disability benefits.
The claimant was involved in a motor vehicle accident in July, 2014 and sustained minor injuries as a result, including strains/sprains of his back, neck, and shoulder. Following the accident, he received conservative treatment, including one injection in the left shoulder, as well as a course of physical therapy and work hardening sessions. Although the medical records in this matter demonstrated rather innocuous injuries, conducting litigation in Prince George’s County can be a risky endeavor from an Employer and Insurer’s perspective as it is notoriously one of the most liberal jury pools in this State.
Despite his claim that he presently could not work due to the accident, the medical records alone did not support the claimant’s physical complaints as he had only seen a doctor one time since June, 2015. While surveillance efforts did not produce any fruitful results, the Claimant’s Facebook page turned out to be an invaluable source. He had posted pictures of himself doing landscaping work, roller skating, and riding a bike, along with a video of himself on a hoverboard, and, better yet – both pictures and videos of himself promoting his work for selling and installing carpet. The Facebook photographs and videos were instrumental in convincing the jury that the claimant was not only capable of working, he had already returned to work. This is a classic example of the growing role technology and social media is playing in litigation and the direct impact it can have on the outcome of a case.