Where should this claim be filed?

A comparison of Virginia, Maryland and D.C. Workers' Compensation Laws

Author: Ackerman & Falcon, Esq.

Published in the in Virginia Trial Lawyers Journal

Facebook Pictures Lead to Workers' Compensation Denial

By Martha C. White

Pictures of carousing can come back to haunt you.

An injured worker in Arkansas was denied an extension of disability benefits after his former employer and insurance company unearthed pictures from social networking sites that showed him "drinking and partying," according to the judge who turned down his appeal.

Nearly three years ago, Zackery Clement suffered a hernia when a refrigerator fell on him. His insurance company and his employer, a furniture and appliance retailer, paid for medical expenses and disability payments. When Clement applied for an extension of those benefits, he was turned down by a judge and the workers' compensation commission. The insurer and the retailer had submitted pictures of Clement taken from Facebook and MySpace, arguing that the pictures proved his injuries were healed.

Clement took his case to the Arkansas Court of Appeals, which ruled that the photos of him — one of which is captioned "drinkin" — were acceptable evidence of his recovery. The decision of appeals judge David Glover included a lengthy timeline of Clement's injury and rehabilitation, which included three surgeries, along with the observation that Clement tested positive for THC at one point during his treatment. Glover said the photos called Clement's credibility into question.

"We find no abuse of discretion in the allowance of the photographs," he wrote. "Clement contended that he was in excruciating pain, but these pictures show him drinking and partying."

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