Rebecca Ortiz v. Chapters Health System, Inc./Travelers – Tampa District
Denise Murray of the Tampa office secured a complete defense verdict in a workers’ compensation case with potential exposure exceeding $500,000.00. The Claimant is a 56-year-old Hospice Aide who injured her lower back when assisting a patient while working for the Employer in 2014. She underwent lumbar surgery and received ongoing medical care as well as pain management.
The Claimant filed a Petition for Benefits requesting permanent total disability benefits and the Employer/Carrier raised a misrepresentation defense. The Claimant told her physicians she was by all practical means “disabled” and unable to perform even simple activities of daily living or engaging in any sort of work. The defense was based upon video surveillance of the Claimant which was purportedly inconsistent with the presentation and complaints she made to the authorized medical providers as well as the vocational expert.
Based upon the evidence presented, the JCC found the Claimant made misleading oral statements to her treating providers and the vocational expert as well as during her deposition. Furthermore, the JCC determined that the Claimant made such misrepresentations to enhance her claim for PTD benefits. Accordingly, the Petition for Benefits was denied and the Claimant is barred from receiving any additional benefits.