Workers' Compensation: $170,000 Recovery For Elbow And Back Injuries
Geraldine sustained elbow and non-surgical back injuries while working as a laborer at a manufacturing facility in Gastonia, North Carolina. This complex matter offered us the opportunity to work with a colleague on personal injury and workers' compensation claims for Geraldine.
The workers' compensation claim had a variety of interesting aspects. From a medical standpoint, we had to navigate several land mines. Our client had 3 prior knee replacements unrelated to her work injury. Such serious unrelated conditions present real possible complications regarding the medical treatment in a workers' compensation case. I also addressed an issue regarding improper (exparte) communication with Geraldine's physician when I was retained. The North Carolina workers' compensation law provides strict rules regarding what communication is allowed with a Plaintiff's physicians. I always closely monitor this issue to protect my client.
The primary issue in the case ultimately became Geraldine's ability to return to work. This case presents a great example why you must have a skilled lawyer. Geraldine reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and received a 5 percent permanent partial impairment rating to her back. The Defendants owed her compensation for the 5 percent rating equating to approximately $5,000. However, the better argument for our client was that her work restrictions prevented her return to employment. I developed this legal strategy. We ultimately resolved the workers' compensation claim for an additional $170,000, plus the Defendants waiver of their subrogation lien against the personal injury claim (which was well over $250,000).
Our co-counsel subsequently resolved the personal injury claim for an additional $100,000 (with no reduction given the waiver of the Defendant's lien).
This global resolution allowed our client to move forward with her life in a very productive manner. She received the proper workers' compensation benefits (medical treatment, weekly compensation (TTD benefits), mileage reimbursement, prescriptions, etc.). She also recovered a significant lump sum to close the claim. We were further able to obtain concessions that assisted the significant personal injury recovery.
Practice area(s): Workers Compensation
Court: North Carolina Industrial Commission (Gastonia, North Carolina)