Our office recovered $284,000.00 for a 51 year old employee injured at work when the chair she was sitting in collapsed, causing injuries to the lower back.
The employee was never able to return to work and continued to receive, in addition to the above settlement, weekly disability benefits for years after the incident. It was only after the settlement of the claim did the weekly benefits end.
The employer disputed the nature and extent of the injury, the necessity of the medical treatment, the duration of the injury and the pre-existing conditions that may have contributed to the disability.
In this particular case, the employee sustained an annular tear at L5-S1 with bi-lateral lower extremity radiculopathy. Treatment included multiple epidurals at various levels, including L5-S1, L2-3, L3-4, L4-5, and again at L5-S1. This was followed by a two level posterior lumbar fusion at L4-L5 and L5-S1, laminectomy, partial facetectomy, with posterior segmental instrumentation with local graft and allograft. Complications from the surgery resulted in yet additional surgery to drain a lumbar wound infection. Finally, a laminectomy and discectomy at L5-S1 on the left was performed. In addition, treatment included numerous MRI’s, C.T. scans, therapy, and examinations. The employee was eventually diagnosed with failed back syndrome.
The employee was off work and received medical treatment for over nine years. Throughout this time, the employee continued to receive her weekly workers compensation disability benefits. However, the employer contested and disputed various elements of the claim, including various aspects of the injury, the treatment, the disability, and of course the value of the claim.
In long-term cases like this, failure to obtain an attorney would certainly put the employee at a disadvantage to the employer. At almost every stage of the medical treatment, the employer was disputing the necessity of the treatment, the diagnosis, the ability to work, the significance of pre-existing back injuries, etc. And, because the employee was a low salaried cafeteria employee, the value of her workers compensation benefits and claim was limited. Workers compensation benefits are based upon the amount of the employee’s salary. So, a low income employee with the identical injury as a higher income employee will receive less compensation for her injuries than the higher income employee.
If you have been injured at work, and you have sustained serious injuries, including surgery, you have the right to a large compensatory claim. Our office has recovered many large awards for workers with serious injuries that required surgery. If you believe you have sustained a serious injury, call the Law Firm of Charles J. Gale, P.C.