Surveillance key to successful verdict

An employee of a grocery retailer had a severe ankle injury and alleged she had developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy/complex regional pain syndrome, a debilitating condition. If the claim was amended to include this condition, it would almost guarantee an award of permanent total disability benefits along with extensive expensive medical treatment.

Our client was looking at a conservative estimate of $250,000.00 in future exposure. Indeed, the injured worker indicated that her left lower extremity was essentially useless and an amputation was discussed. However, the injured worker was less than sincere about the actual state of her condition.

In formulating a litigation strategy, we elected to employ aggressive surveillance and were able to demonstrate that the injured worker was able to ambulate without difficulty and even attended church in heels. The injured worker's own physician indicated her physical abilities belied the presence of reflex sympathetic dystrophy/complex regional pain syndrome.

We successfully obtained a judgment in our favor, which significantly decreased the value of the claim. Although the injured worker's counsel fiercely litigated the matter, the decision to utilize surveillance early in the litigation process was the key factor in a successful verdict.