When Your Employer Accuses You of Exaggerating Your Injuries
One of the worst parts of living with a chronic illness or an injury that causes chronic pain is when people assume that, because you look healthy, you must be faking your pain or exaggerating it just to get attention. It is demoralizing enough when your family members and work supervisors do this, but it can leave you feeling hopeless when even the doctors you rely on to help you manage your symptoms tell you that the pain you feel is only in your imagination. Now imagine that, in order to get any treatment or any financial support while you are unable to work, you have to convince your employer that your symptoms are real and that their cause was an injury that happened at work. For people with painful but invisible injuries, trying to continue receiving workers’ compensation benefits can feel like you are being asked to complete an obstacle course every day. A South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer can help you collect the benefits to which you are entitled, even if your employer keeps putting up obstacles.
Injured Deputy Accused of Fraud Because He Can Sometimes Walk Short Distances Without His Wheelchair
Nicolas Carreno was working as a deputy for the Broward Sheriff’s Office at the time of his injury. On October 29, 2007, he bent forward to get his laptop computer out of the trunk of his patrol car and threw out his back. He originally thought that the pain would get better on its own after a few days, but instead, it got progressively worse. The pain became so severe and so constant that Carreno could no longer work, walk, or drive. He underwent surgery eight months after the incident, but even after the surgery he remained dependent on a wheelchair.
Carreno was on no-work status and collected benefits because of his injury for several years. He continued to make follow-up visits to the primary care doctor chosen by his employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company; he always arrived at the doctor’s office in a wheelchair and was assisted by a family member. In 2013, the BSO hired a surveillance company to record Carreno in and around his home, and the footage showed him sometimes doing activities that he had claimed to be unable to do, such as walking.
When authorities saw the footage, they arrested Carreno and charged him with fraud. He spent a night in jail before posting bond. After viewing the footage, the primary care physician wrote a statement claiming that Carreno was misrepresenting his injuries. Throughout his case, Carreno maintained that he was telling the truth about the severity of his injuries. He argued that the videos only showed him taking a few steps, not playing sports or climbing on the roof.
You Deserve to Be Believed About Your Pain
The only parts of Carreno’s story that are rare are the surveillance videos and criminal charges; the other parts are things that workers’ compensation lawyers must deal with every day. Contact a Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld for a consultation.