Baer v. Kleuter Brothers Concrete, 17 ILWCLB 164 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2009).
Ruling: Based on videotape surveillance, the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission reduced a permanent disability award from 20 percent to 10 percent loss of the person as a whole under the Workers' Compensation Act.
What it means:
As evidence, video surveillance can be helpful in discerning a worker's true capabilities, especially where it shows the employee performing significant activities over several days that contradict his testimony.
Summary: The employee injured his neck, upper back and right shoulder when he fell while working as a laborer. He was diagnosed with chronic cervical sprain, among other upper body injuries. He was also diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in his upper back. He was eventually placed at maximum medical improvement with recommended permanent restrictions of no repetitive flexion or extension of the neck, no overhead work, and no lifting, pushing or pulling over 25 pounds. At arbitration, the employee testified that his range of motion in his neck was severely limited. The arbitrator found the claimant sustained a 20 percent loss of the person as a whole pursuant to Illinois law.
Upon review, the commission watched video surveillance of the employee during a three-day period. The video showed the employee moving boxes, mattresses and furniture, changing a tire, and loading a lawnmower into the trunk of a car. Based on the employee's significant capacity for activity as demonstrated in the surveillance video, the commission reduced the permanency award to 10 percent of the person as a whole.
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November 12, 2009
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