Woman Loses Personal Injury Award Due to Christmas Tree Tossing Photos

Activities to Avoid During a Pending Injury Claim

Despite an effort by corporations and insurance companies to paint personal injury plaintiffs as greedy and lazy opportunists, this usually couldn’t be further from the truth. Personal injury awards are meant to help accident victims move forward after life-changing injuries, with compensation for damages like medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. But just like all processes started with good intentions, there will inevitably be some people who try to take advantage of a chance for a check from an insurance company. If the defendant in a civil personal injury lawsuit can prove to the court that the plaintiff has lied about their injuries, it can put the plaintiff’s award in jeopardy.

The latest example of this comes to us from across the pond in Ireland. Kamila Grabska was awarded $820,000 in 2017 to compensate her for neck and back pain sustained in a car accident. She was awarded the large sum after telling the court that her injuries prevented her from working, doing household chores, and spending time with her children. However, her case was recently dismissed after a photograph surfaced of the mother of 2 participating in a Christmas tree-tossing contest. The contest occurred on January 8, 2018, and Grabska came in first place. She was also shown training her dog outside in 2023. All of this would be in direct conflict with the medical evidence she presented for her claim. While personal injury claims work differently in the United States and a plaintiff generally isn’t monitored after their award is issued, this case can still serve as a forewarning to accident victims seeking compensation for their damages. Photographing or videotaping at the wrong place and time can damage your claim’s value or prevent you from collecting altogether. You need to make sure that your actions, especially your public actions, are in line with what you present to the court. For more information about crafting a persuasive personal injury claim after an accident in Phoenix, Arizona, call 480-833-8000 for your free consultation.

A personal injury lawyer discusses the impact of Christmas tree tossing photos on a woman's case, highlighting the importance of legal strategy and evidence in personal injury claims.

Excessive Social Media Posts About Your Accident & Claim

In this day and age, many people’s first reaction after any life-changing event, including a near-death experience, is to post about it on social media. The likes and positive attention can be tempting, especially if you foresee stressful experiences ahead like medical treatments, dealing with car repairs or purchasing a new vehicle, etc. However, your posts could eventually serve as ammunition when an insurance company is trying to deflate your claim’s value. For example, if you post too many details about a car accident, the insurance company may try to spin your words to make it sound like you were distracted and at least partially at fault for the accident and your injuries. If you post a montage of your progress getting back to the gym, the insurance company could argue that you were not injured enough to miss work, which could reduce your lost wages and damages.

Publicized Athletic Events

While many people have never even heard of Christmas tree tossing as a group activity, there are several types of events that you could participate in and that could damage your personal injury claim if a photo of you made it to the newspaper or another person’s social media post. You will want to avoid participating in extreme endurance events like marathons and Ironman races. Even if you are just there as an observer, a photo of you at the event could damage your claim if you are supposed to be on bed rest. Don’t forget that there are countless cameras at these types of events and many of these photos are published in a public forum.

Workout Classes & Fitness Studios

Workout classes are a fun way to bring a social element to your fitness routine. Your favorite Pilates or hot yoga studio might film classes to stream for remote clients or to post on their social media as an advertisement. A sleuth defendant’s attorney may be able to track down this kind of footage and use it against you in a personal injury claim. It’s also important to note that it is harder to take necessary breaks and avoid working certain body parts while recovering from an injury in fitness classes versus an individual workout. However, some studios also offer private instruction for those working through physical ailments. Always check with your medical provider before resuming any type of exercise program after an accident.

Music Festivals & Concerts

Listening to music can be a therapeutic way to enjoy yourself if you’re recovering from injuries and are physically limited. Enjoying music live can be a different story. A personal injury lawyer who sees a picture of someone enjoying a music festival or concert sees the background story- a long drive, possibly sleeping in a tent or other cramped spaces, dancing all night long, and possibly experimenting with mood-altering substances. All of these activities are usually against doctors’ orders while recovering from an accident. There are also activities where people like to take and post candid pictures. Be mindful of pictures that might make you look more physically recovered than you feel, at least while waiting for a pending personal injury claim to conclude.

Arizona’s Statute of Limitations: How Long to Be Careful

Personal injury claims have time limits that are known as statutes of limitations. A statute of limitations is meant to ensure that a claim is brought promptly, before evidence is lost, memories fade, and involved parties move on with their lives. The majority of personal injury claims in Arizona have a statute of limitations of 2 years from the accident. However, certain types of liability claims are bound by a 1-year statute of limitations, and the statute of limitations can be reduced even further if the defendant is a government entity. On the other hand, the statute of limitations can be extended if the plaintiff is a minor. For more information about how long you will have to file your potential lawsuit, call 480-833-8000 for your free consultation with one of our experienced injury lawyers.

Skilled Accident Attorneys Practicing in the Greater Phoenix Area

The situation described above may seem unlikely in the United States, but defendants in lawsuits can hire private investigators to surveil plaintiffs and make sure that they are not lying about their injuries. A plaintiff’s attorney can help you not only avoid mistakes that will reduce your award but also utilize strategies and arguments that can result in an increased payout. Eliminate confusion throughout the process and create a barrier between you and the insurance company, who will undoubtedly take every action possible to avoid paying a fair award. This is essentially like becoming an accident victim a second time. You have the opportunity to hire a reputable law firm like My AZ Personal Injury Lawyer that will fight back against insurance companies to make sure you receive every penny you deserve. To get started with your free consultation by phone today, call 480-833-8000.

Published On: March 25th, 2024Categories: Personal injury