Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Carmel on the Case: Worker's Comp Case
A Miami man was unable to work after being hurt on the job, but the insurance company that was supposed to help him ended up making things much worse. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
WSVN -- Eduardo Torres had no idea private investigators were videotaping him, walking around in his Miami front yard.
It's not that unusual in workman's comp cases when someone claims to have a serious injury and Torres had filed a claim after falling off a ladder at work. What is unusual is how his case was handled.
Tom Horner: "He fell off a ladder. It was very clear from the treating physicians that he had three severe herniated lumbar discs and he had some severe injury to his legs, which were visible."
Tom Horner represented Torres in the injury case. He says doctors for the insurance company backed up the injury claim and the insurance company eventually paid the claim as legitimate.
Interpreter for Eduardo Torres: "They paid me $100 something thousand dollars and everything was good."
But things didn't stay good for long turns out before it paid the claim, The insurance company asked the state to investigate Torres for fraud, but then didn't bother to tell the state it had found the claim to be legitimate. So the state moved forward with its case and torres was arrested for insurance fraud.
Russell Adler: "This man should never have been arrested or charged with anything, and the insurance company behind that knows that full well."
For Eduardo, the worst part was being arrested in front of his children.
Interpreter for Eduardo Torres: "That was the most painful for me because my kids saw that. We didn't have anyone to leave the boys with so the two boys went and saw everything and started crying."
The charges against torres were dropped after the state attorney's office found insufficient evidence, and now attorney Russell Adler has filed a lawsuit against the insurance company charging malicious prosecution.
Russell Adler: "This was a malicious and spiteful and mean spirited act that we will not permit the insurance company to get away with in this case."
Torres says his life has been ruined because despite no charges being filed he still looks guilty.
Interpreter for Eduardo Torres: "Now, every time they run me on a computer it shows that I was arrested and that makes me feel bad because I go out on the street and I'm scared. It makes me not want to go out."
No one from the state or the insurance company would talk on camera about the Torres case.
Carmel Cafiero: "The state did tell me it was simply doing its job. An attorney for the insurance company says it told the state the case had been settled before Torres was arrested. It looks like a courtroom is the next stop for this case."
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