A paper-and-packaging company employee who allegedly hurt his back on the job in July and again in August 2017 failed to prove his injury occurred while he was working, an arbitrator in a workers’ compensation trial ruled on January 24, 2020.
Under the arbitrator’s ruling, the company, which was at risk of losing more than $150,000 in the case, owes the worker nothing. The decision is a victory for Goldberg Segalla associate Natasa Timotijevic, a member of the firm’s Workers’ Compensation group.
The worker, who alleged he injured his lower back twice—the first time by pulling on a breaker bar on July 11, 2017, the second by pushing a one-ton stack of paper on a cart on August 18, 2017—was seeking money for medical expenses and lost work capacity. But a mechanism of injury never appeared in the medical records until after he said his pain was work related—he didn’t report the accidents until September 12, 2017—and surveillance footage showed him running errands and moving large bags of pet food or fertilizer.
Also, the man admitted to having had back pain ever since undergoing a lumbar-fusion procedure in 2015.
“Our strategy was to vigorously investigate the claim, including multiple rounds of surveillance and obtaining the petitioner’s prior treatment records, so that we could expose any inconsistencies or exaggerations in his testimony,” Natasa says. “Our focus was putting those multiple pieces of evidence into a clear narrative establishing the petitioner failed to prove the necessary elements of his case.”
The mission of Goldberg Segalla’s Workers’ Compensation group is to achieve significant and sustainable reductions to the overall expense of each client’s workers’ compensation program. Its commitment to this mission—and its success in efficient file handling as well as long-range strategic risk-management—has earned the firm a national reputation for exceeding clients’ expectations and driving positive change in the practice of workers’ compensation law.