Case Results

Workers' Compensation: $170,000 Recovery For Elbow And Back Injuries

July 2009

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)

Christopher Shumate

Mr. Chris Shumate is a native of Gastonia, North Carolina, and worked various jobs while pursuing his undergraduate and Juris Doctor education, including several heavy manual labor and skilled trade positions. In his practice, Mr. Shumate often encounters circumstances where these prior experiences are helpful in representing you. Upon graduating law school from the University of South Carolina, Mr. Shumate joined one of the Carolinas' larger defense firms, where he represented a diverse set of employers and insurance companies in civil cases and workers' compensation claims across the Carolinas. Chris utilized this experience to obtain a working knowledge of the insurance industry, and build personal contacts used today in representing you. Mr. Shumate ultimately decided he wanted to focus his law practice on assisting those who have been injured, and doing so with the focus on a personal relationship that is uncommon in the bigger firms. Mr. Shumate's also has a passion for assisting those facing the challenges of the criminal legal system. By representing individuals in a variety of criminal and traffic matters, Mr. Shumate works to achieve the best possible result for each client regardless of the charges levied by the prosecution. Chris has tirelessly pursued his mission of helping people from all walks of life throughout the Carolinas with a variety of legal matters. If you are interested in learning more about Chris Shumate and The Shumate Law Offices, please contact us at 704.371.5059. We look forward to assisting you to achieve a positive result in your legal concern. Education J.D., University of South Carolina B.S., University of South Carolina Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice N.C. State BarS.C. State BarU.S. District Court Western District of North Carolina Professional & Bar Association Memberships N.C. Bar Association S.C. Bar Association Mecklenburg County Bar N.C. Academy Of Trial Lawyers American Association For Justice