Wednesday, August 7, 2019
I was injured at work! I've struck it rich
There is and always has been a certain percentage of workers compensation claimants that think their on the job injury is a ticket to Easy Street. More often than not, however, this is not the case. And in those cases that do settle for large sums, the injured worker has suffered catastrophic injuries, been gravely disfigured, or will never be able to return to gainful employment. It's a trade off I suspect most people would not want to make. In Connecticut, by and large the value of your case is driven by your base compensation rate: BCR. This is a number that is derived by calculating your average weekly wage for the 52 weeks preceding your injury and then, using a table provided by the Workers Compensation Commission, arriving at your weekly benefit rate which is approximately 60% of your weekly wage. If your comp rate is $200 each week, the value of your case will be significantly less than a workers whose comp rate is $900 per week. It's a matter of mathematics. I took a look at a web page from a large Maryland Worker's compensation firm. They publish their case settlements and I have reported it below. In perusing the settlements, it will quickly become clear to you that worker's compensation is not a get rich quick scheme. Most cases settle for modest amounts and the injured worker heals and goes on with their life. Please know that at my office, I will always endeavor to obtain the best financial result for you and have over 30 years experience getting that done. And now, the reported settlements from Maryland: Injury: Plantar Faciatis Body Part: Left Foot Amount: $6,080.00 Employer: The Greene Turtle Location: Hagerstown, MD Claimant sustained injury after moving a heavy object. Claimant underwent surgery to repair the issue with the foot and returned to pre-injury employment. Injury: Distal bicep rupture Body Part: Arm Amount: $27,375.00 Employer: Southwest Airlines Location: Baltimore, MD Claimant sustained injury after lifting heavy objects at work. Claimant underwent surgery to repair the ruptured bicep. Claimant returned to pre-injury employment. Injury: Left knee sprain and lumbar strain Body Part: Knee and back Amount: $10,660.00 Employer: LabCorp Claimant slipped and fell on ice. Claimant was treated with therapy and medications. Injury: Torn ACL Body Part: Knee Amount: $36,015.00 Employer: A tree cutting and maintenance company Claimant sustained injury after catching himself from falling from a tree. Claimant underwent two surgeries, including a total ACL reconstruction. Claimant has permanent work restrictions. Injury: Cervical and thoracic strains Body Part: Neck and back Amount: $10,950.00 Employer: State of Maryland Location: Baltimore, MD Claimant was injured after being involved in a motor vehicle crash while at work. Claimant was treated with therapy for the injuries sustained. Injury: Tear of the peroneus brevis tendon Body Part: Ankle Amount: $12,562.50 for worsening (total award is $33,500) Location: Baltimore, MD Claimant slipped and fell at work injury the ankle. Claimant reopened the claim for surgery. Claimant had therapy following surgery. Injury: Disc protrusion Body Part: Neck Amount: $7,150.00 Claimant was injured after a heavy object struck Claimant in the head. Claimant had an injection to the neck and therapy. Injury: Calcaneus fracture Body Part: Foot Amount: $35,000.00 Employer: Stewart Sun Rooms Claimant fell from a ladder while at work causing a fracture in the left calcaneus. Claimant had surgery and was able to return to pre-injury employment. Injury: Fracture of the fourth metatarsal neck Body Part: Foot Amount: $10,950.00 Employer: Maryland State Police Claimant was in training when he fell and injured the foot. Claimant was treated with bracing and observation from the orthopedic surgeon. Injury: Post comminuted fracture, left tibia, with internal fixation using nails and screws Body Part: Leg and ankle Amount: $42,588.00 Claimant was involved in a motor vehicle collision while at work. Claimant had surgery to repair the broken leg. Claimant underwent therapy post-operatively. Injury: Lumbar strain Body Part: Back Amount: $45,000.00 Employer: Prince George’s Community Hospital Claimant was injured after moving a patient at work. Claimant was treated with therapy and injections. Claimant returned to pre-injury employment. Injury: Concussion, cervical strain, lumbar strain Body Part: Head, neck, back Amount: $7,040.00 Claimant was injured after being struck by a car while working. Claimant was treated with medication and therapy for the injuries sustained. Injury: Concussion Body Part: Head Amount: $10,000 Employer: CVS Claimant was involved in a motor vehicle crash while working. Claimant was treated with medical visits and medications. Injury: Lumbar strain Body Part: Back Amount: $4,175.00 Employer: MedStar Location: Baltimore Claimant sustained injury after pushing a patient bed at work. Claimant was treated with physical therapy and returned to pre-injury employment. Injury: Torn Labrum Body Part: Shoulder Amount: $60,025.00 Claimant was working as a machine assembly mechanic and fell off a stool. An MRI revealed a tear of the superior and posterior glenoid labrum which required surgery to repair. This was followed by physical therapy before a full duty work release. Injury: Torn Rotator Cuff, Wrist Sprain, Knee Contusion Body Part: Hand, Leg, Shoulder Amount: $53,837.50 Employer: State of Maryland Location: Baltimore City Claimant tripped and fell getting off an elevator that did not level property. This resulted in shoulder surgery, a knee injection, and physical therapy for all three body parts. Injury: Contusion Body Part: Knee Amount: $2,805.00 Location: Aberdeen, Maryland Claimant was working as a truck driver when several pallets fell out of the truck and struck the knee. Claimant was treated with anti-inflammatories and physical therapy. Injury: Sprain/Strain Body Part: Bilateral Wrists Amount: $7,320.00 Location: Sykesville, MD Claimant was at work loading boxes of bread onto a pallet and tripped and fell. Claimant was treated with wrist splinting and physical therapy. Injury: Fracture Body Part: Ankle Amount: $32,467.50 Location: Dedricktown, NJ Claimant was working as a truck driver and was injured stepping down from the truck bed. The injury required surgery in the form of an open reduction internal fixation with lateral plate and stabilization. After postoperative physical therapy subsequent procedures were performed to remove the plate and syndesmotic screw. The Claimant was able to return to preinjury employment. Injury: Sprain/Strain Body Part: Hand/Wrist Amount: $2,150.00 Employer: Southwest Airlines Location: BWI Airport Claimant sustained a hand/wrist injury handling luggage at work. Claimant was treated with medication and physical therapy. Injury: Back Sprain/Strain Body Part: Back Amount: $4,075.00 Employer: Southwest Airlines Location: BWI Airport Claimant was lifting a heavy case from a baggage cart to a transfer cart and sustained a back injury. Claimant was treated with medication and physical therapy. Injury: Ulnar Neuropathy Body Part: Elbow Amount: $2,100.00 Employer: Southwest Airlines Location: BWI Airport Claimant sustained an elbow injury handling luggage at work. Claimant was treated with medication, an elbow sleeve and physical therapy. Injury: Lateral Malleolus Fracture Body Part: Ankle Amount: $10,000 Injured worker was working as a construction worker when he slipped on a beam and fractured his right lateral malleolus. Claimant underwent conservative treatment after he was taken out of the supportive boot and went through physical therapy. Claimant was able to return to a similar job type with a different employer. Injury: Burns/Disfigurement Body Part: Back Amount: $3,780 Claimant went for treatment at Amazon facility and was subsequently burned on her back resulting in scarring to the area. Claimant was able to return to work after conservative care of her skin. Injury June 28, 2018 Body Part: Wrist/Hand Amount: $20,000.00 Location: Baltimore County Client developed carpal tunnel syndrome in non-dominate hand as a result of her work as a nail technician. Injured worker underwent a surgical release. The claim was contested. Settlement was reached with the Employer/Insurer for the an amount that covered all of her lost wages and permanent injury. Claimant returned to work in the same position for a new employer. No additional medical care is expected. Injury November 7, 2017 Body Part: Head, Neck and Back Amount: $25,500.00 for both Plaintiffs Location: Baltimore City Insurer: GEICO Husband and wife were involved in a motor vehicle collision in Downtown Baltimore. Both sustained injuries to their head, neck and back. Conservative care with no surgical indications. Claim was contested by GEICO and suit was filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. After depositions, liability was admitted and the claims were settled pre-trial. Injury: November 13, 2018 Body Part: Arm Amount: AFCS for $6,400.00 Location: Harford County Client sustained a compensable accidental injury while working for the Employer at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Non-surgical treatment for approximately 2.5 months. Claimant returned to work for the same employer and eventually left for another job opportunity. No additional medical care is expected. Claim was settled in part due to unrelated, but significant, legal problems for the Client. Injury: April 17, 2018 Amount: $375,648.00 total death benefits, $7,000.00 funeral expenses Location: Montgomery County Dependency claim for spouse. Worker fell from a scaffolding and died ten days afterward. Worker left behind a wife and two adult children. Wife worked part-time for a drycleaner. A dependency claim was filed and hearing held where wife was deemed to be the sole dependent. Medical benefits, funeral expenses and dependency benefits were awarded. Benefits to the wife will be paid for the next twelve years and will equate to total payments of $375,648.00 ($31,394.00 per year). Injury: November 12, 2018 Body Part: Back Amount: $7,500.00 Location: Baltimore City Client sustained a twisting/lifting back injury while loading a patient into a transportation van. Claim was initially contested, but resolved prior to a hearing. After a period of treatment and being out of work, Claimant returned to work for a different employer in a similar job. Claim was settled pending a permanency hearing. No surgery was recommended and no additional medical care was foreseeable. Injury August 21, 2018 Body Part: Shoulder and Back Amount: $5,074.00 Location: Baltimore City Insurer: Allstate Client was the passenger who was involved in a motor vehicle collision. Her husband was deemed to be at-fault for the collision. She sustained injuries to her neck and back and underwent conservative care for about two months. She filed a claim against the motor vehicle insurance policy and the case was settled prior to suit being filed. Body Part: Shoulder Amount: 10% “other cases” PPD for left shoulder, 9% causally connected and 1% due to pre-existing conditions. $8,235.00 PPD Location: Howard County Employer: Vantage House Client was working in the kitchen of a residence community. Foot caught the edge of a raised rubber kitchen mat – fell into the wall and then struck the floor. Primary injury was to shoulder. Claimant sought emergency care and underwent physical therapy as recommended by his primary care physician. No surgery was recommended. After conservative care, Claimant returned to work as a cook for another location. Claim was tried for permanency and not settled because of the concern that Claimant may need additional medical care in the future. Injury August 28, 2018 Body Part: Fingers/Hand Amount: $20,093.25. 5% index finger; 82% middle; 72% ring; 11% pinky. Location: Anne Arundel County Employer: 84 Lumber Co. Client sustained injuries and partial amputation to four of the fingers on his left hand. His hand was caught in, and cut by, a router blade. He was taken to the emergency room where surgery was performed to repair and stabilize the damage. After a few months of post-surgical hand therapy, the Claimant returned to work for the same employer in the same job. The Claimant’s permanent injuries were examined and a hearing on the permanency disability was scheduled. The Insurer wanted to pay the claimant’s permanency as a “hand” claim, but we negotiated a stipulation for permanency for each individual “finger” as “finger” injuries can be more lucrative to a Claimant than a “hand” injury. This increased the value of the permanency assessment 280%. Injury November 28, 2001 Body Part: Pulmonary/Lungs, Kidneys, Hypertension. Amount: $82,232.40. 340 weeks of PPD at $241.86 per week. Location: Baltimore City Employer: Mayor & City Council of Baltimore Client was a firefighter for Baltimore City. As a result of his work, he developed asthma and hypertension. After a period of time and despite active medical care, the Claimant’s asthma developed into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). His hypertension caused him to developed stage III kidney disease. The Mayor & City Council challenged the causal connection of the additional medical conditions, but the Commission ruled in the Claimant’s favor. The Commission also awarded the Claimant a “serious disability” permanency award. The M&CC was able to claim an offset due to Claimant’s pension because both conditions were “presumed” to be caused by his exposure to toxic substances during his 30+ year firefighting career. The Claimant had originally been granted permanency just for asthma and hypertension. This was a “reopening” for worsening of his permanent condition due to the development of the new medical conditions.