Proving Damages after Videotaping of Physical Exertion

Utah Goblin Valley | Martinson & Beason, P.C.A video taken of a man pushing a boulder off its pedestal in Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park has attracted increasing media scrutiny after it was revealed that one of the men filmed had recently filed a personal injury claim for four-year-old injuries. Prior to the discovery of the man’s claim of debilitating and permanent back injuries from a car accident, the actions shocked the public for several reasons.

First, the man and friend who appear in the video, along with the videographer, were leading a Boy Scout troop through the national park. The National Boy Scouts of America issued a statement that the group has dismissed the three former leaders following the video’s heavy online circulation.

Second, moving the boulder itself (known to locals as a “goblin”) may have violated the law by defacing a state park. The Boy Scouts released a press statement condemning the men’s actions, which they said violated the group’s “Leave no trace” policy. This policy “teaches the value of natural areas and the methods we can use to help protect and conserve these areas for future generations.”

The personal injury suit filed by the man in the video have only further shocked the public.

The video, which shows the man moving a boulder, will impact his claimed disability. The extent to which the video impacts the compensation the man could receive is not yet known. The video looks very incriminating: after all, how could a man who claims to have severe back injuries move a boulder? But the man’s personal injury claim could still have merit. What the video does not show is how difficult it was to move the boulder (that can only be inferred). The man will need to establish a plan with his personal injury attorney to address the extent of his injuries in light of this video footage.  He and his attorney will need to prove that his injuries are real and that they resulted from the car accident that he experienced four years ago.

Plaintiffs in personal injury claims should use caution after filing claims. Physical exertion can cause others to doubt the validity of the claim. Plaintiffs should also use caution using social media following an accident. Most insurance companies will check a plaintiff’s social media to see if there is any information that may help them defend against the Plaintiff’s claim. If you’ve experienced an injury due to someone else’s negligence, I encourage you to speak to a personal injury attorney.