Gerald’s Case of the Week
$450,000 for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
Carl hurt his back working as a metal fabricator. He has a lumbar discectomy but it did not correct his chronic low back problem. His doctors called it Failed Back Surgery Syndrome because surgery fixed the structural problem but the nerves were compromised and pain continued. I represented Carl before the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and got him the maximum 500 weeks of workers’ compensation benefits. I also helped him win Social Security Disability benefits. Recently, the workers’ compensation insurer agreed to settle the rest of Carl’s case by purchasing an annuity which will pay him $450,000.
Social Security Disability for a 37-Year-Old after Multiple Surgeries
After a work accident, Tony had surgeries on his neck, back, and right shoulder. Tony was only 37 years old and at that age, SSA requires the claimant to prove he cannot do ANY type of work in the entire national economy. Despite the chronic pain from multiple operations, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) doctors who looked at Tony’s case thought he could do Light Duty work. Light Duty is defined as lifting no more than 20 pounds. At the hearing, I was able to persuade Judge Foster that Tony’s neurologist knew his case the best and the neurologist’s opinion should be given the most weight. Tony was awarded 36 months of past-due Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, ongoing monthly SSD payments, Medicare, and dependent benefits for his 2 children.
$60,000 in Back-Benefits, Weekly Compensation, and Neck Fusion Approved for Cable Installer after Slip on Ice
Mr. Vonn was a cable installer. He hurt his neck at work when he slipped and fell on ice. The insurer initially agreed to pay workers’ compensation but then denied the neck fusion and cutoff all benefits claiming a preexisting condition. At a contested hearing at the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, I won an Award for Mr. Vonn. The insurer appealed the deputy commissioner’s decision to the Full Commission. The Commission cited the fact that Mr. Vonn’s slip on ice aggravated his spinal stenosis and awarded him $60,000 in back benefits, an ongoing Award of $855 per week, and the neck surgery.
Wytheville Car Carrier Driver get $175,000 Settlement from Fall due to High Wind
Mr. Jones drove a car carrier for a living. While in Wytheville, VA, the alarm went off on one of the top cars on the carrier. Mr. Jones climbed up the side of the carrier to shut off the alarm. He got to the top and reached for the car door when a gust of wind blew him off the carrier. He fell 12 feet to the ground and was knocked unconscious. Some people found him beside his carrier and called an ambulance. He was rushed to MCV and diagnosed with a concussion, head, neck, and shoulder injuries. The insurer initially accepted the claim, but after 6 months, the insurer questioned his continued disability. His orthopedic injuries had gotten better, but he still suffered from his concussion and has continuous headaches. The insurer sent him for a defense medical exam, which questioned all of his complaints. Then the insurer cutoff his compensation and medical care. I filed a claim for Mr. Jones and the parties agreed to a Mediation at the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. One day before the Mediation, the parties reached a settlement of $175,000.
Painter Falls at Work in Glen Allen, Gets $205,000 Work Comp Settlement for Chronic Pain
Anthony was a foreman for a painting company. He hurt his right ankle in a fall due to uneven terrain. The simple ankle injury developed into a permanent ailment when Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) set in. CRPS, also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is when the injury heals but the pain persists. Anthony lost his job due to the ankle injury. As a result of CRPS, he could never work on ladders again, which is an essential job function of a painter. He had to go on workers’ compensation. After a struggle with the work comp insurer, we managed to work out a $203,000 settlement. These funds will allow Anthony to pursue his dream as a long distance truck driver.
Henrico Electrician Wins Virginia Work Comp Settlement for Over $270,000
Mr. Smith was working on a catwalk for his company at an old warehouse in Henrico County. He was cutting some tubing over his head when the saw kicked back and mangled his right pointer finger. He is right handed and has been an electrician for over three decades. He could no longer run wire and do the tough tasks that an electrician does. It is tough switching occupations over age 50. He retained me to assist with his Virginia workers’ compensation claim. I was able to show through vocational and medical evidence that he could no longer work as an electrician. Finally, the insurer agreed and we reached a settlement of over $270,000. Mr. Smith hopes to take the money from the settlement and start a new career.
Successful Workers’ Compensation Settlement for Death in Single Vehicle Auto Accident
Ms. Denton’s husband died when his van flipped over in Midlothian. He was on a work errand to pickup oil for the compressors. The insurer denied the claim, stating the death was due to “unknown causes.” There was some difficulty with the case because the decedent (obviously) could not testify about what caused his accident. However, we were able to show the decedent died immediately after the rollover accident. In the past, the Virginia Supreme Court has said that if the worker is found dead at his place of employment, then the death is “presumed” to have been caused by the employment. We used this “death presumption” doctrine to reach a successful settlement for Ms. Denton’s widow claim.
Left Arm Injury from Tractor Trailer Crash Yields in $250,000 and $100,000 in Future Medical Care
James Demary suffered a head injury, left shoulder fracture, and a neck injury in a tractor trailer accident. He had shoulder surgery and cervical fusion. A Functional Capacity Exam (FCE) found him permanently reduced to sedentary work, but he had no office skills. As a result, he lost his profession of truck driving, which he had done for 30 years. The insurer attempted to find him alternative employment, but Mr. Demary is 65 years old and no one wanted to give him a chance to start a new career at that age. Then the insurer tried to place him in a telemarketing job from home. However, we were able to defeat this at the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission by showing this was not meaningful vocational placement under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. Finally, the insurer agreed to settle his case for $250,000 plus an additional $100,000 for future medical care.
Wrist Injury During Police Training Results in $60,000 Settlement
J.J. Mills injured her right wrist in an accident at the police academy. She was being taught defensive tactics and got hurt when the instructor threw her over his shoulder. Her career as a police officer ended because she could not do restraint without risking further injury. She contacted me for help with her Virginia workers’ compensation claim. We were able to work out a favorable settlement while preserving her right to get benefits through the Virginia Retirement System (VRS).
Truck Rollover Brain Injury Results in $325,000
Mike Shaw was faced with a terrifying choice. He was entering an intersection with his semi-trailer truck when a car cut in front of him. Mike could keep going and crush the car, or he could jackknife his truck. In a split second, he chose to jackknife his truck. The result was a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that left Mike disabled. In Virginia, the normal workers’ compensation only lasts 500 weeks. On Mike’s behalf, I filed for lifetime compensation, a healthcare companion salary, and lifetime medical care. The insurer disputed his claim of a TBI and their doctor said he had recovered from the crash. We did a Mediation at the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. It yielded lifetime medical care, a healthcare companion salary, and a lump sum of $325,000.
Virginia Work Comp Case for PTSD Yields $80,000
Joyce C. came to me with a horrifying story. She was an extended stay hotel manager and had delivered a package to a long-term resident. Some days later she went to check on him. He had committed suicide using a suicide kit Joyce has unknowingly delivered him. On her behalf, I filed a claim for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation (VWC) Commission. Joyce could no longer work at her job due to constant nightmares about the event. She kept seeing the victim with the suicide bag over his head hooked to the gas container. The insurance company’s psychiatrist said she had a stress reaction which would be gone within three months. Joyce’s psychiatrist said she could never work at the hotel again. At a Mediation at the VWC Commission, I managed to obtain weekly compensation for her lost wages, an $80,000 settlement, and payment of all related medical bills for Joyce.
$157,500 Mediation Settlement for Injured Forklift Driver from Carson, VA
D. Brown was getting off his forklift at work as an order selector in Prince George, VA when a fellow employee accidentally hit him in the right foot with a pallet jack. Two foot operations were required to repair the crush injury. Mr. Brown underwent a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) a little over a year after the accident, which indicated he could drive a forklift again. However, he will need special shoes and pain medication for the rest of his life. After a Mediation at the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, I obtained a settlement for Mr. Brown of $157,500 for his work injury.
Workers’ Compensation Win in the Virginia Court of Appeals
Ms. Cooper was a surgical nurse who injured both knees slipping on the wet floor in the operating room. Her doctor provided her physical therapy that did not correct the problem. After two years, he finally decided she needed bilateral knee replacements. However, her employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurer denied the claim. We won the hearing and the deputy commissioner ordered the insurer to pay for the surgery. Then the defense appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. The Court denied the appeal and ordered the surgeries to be covered.
Head Injury at Work in Petersburg Results in $500,000 in Compensation
P. Jones hit her head on a sharp object at work in Petersburg, VA. The insurer disputed her claim for workers’ compensation for her headaches. Virginia usually pays 500 weeks for workplace accidents. When her 500 weeks ran out, we filed for permanent total disability for her head injury. With the support of her doctors, we proved her head injury also injured her brain, making her unemployable and thus eligible for lifetime compensation. We won the second hearing, which means she will receive over $500,000.00 for this work accident.
Work Injury by Stepping on Hose Results in $205,000.00 Settlement
Joe D. stepped on a tanker hose at work in Ashland, VA severely injuring his right foot. I showed this was a true work accident arising out of the course of his job. The insurer paid for two years of treatment and compensation for lost wages. Then Joe moved to Florida and wanted to settle his case. After considering his pain and permanent impairment, the insurer was finally willing to settle his claim for $205,000.00.
Work Truck Accident in Mechanicsville, VA Results in $200,000 Settlement plus Lifetime Medical Coverage
J. Jordy came to me after his truck was hit by another vehicle. He had a workers’ compensation claim for his lower back and a separate personal injury claim against the other driver. Unfortunately, the other driver had limited liability insurance. As a result, Mr. Jordy could only depend on his own employer’s workers’ compensation coverage. After Mr. Jordy received four years of medical treatment and weekly compensation, I was able to obtain a successful settlement for him with a limited settlement against the at-fault-driver. This was done to maximize his recovery and safeguard his rights to Social Security Disability.
Mechanic’s Right Knee Injury Results in $240,000 Settlement and New Occupation
D. Thomas injured his left knee lifting a motor in Petersburg, VA. He was an automobile mechanic. He contacted my office for representation on his Workers’ Compensation. He was no longer able to lift heavy items and perform as a mechanic. I was able to obtain a $240,000 settlement for him and a training course to be a long-distance truck driver. Mr. Thomas is now happy working as a truck driver.
Foreman Falls on Deck in Farmville, Results in $60,000 Settlement and Payment of $325,000 Surgery Bill
M. Birkshed fell on a deck at work and hurt his back. Prior to this accident, his doctors had recommended back surgery, but he had always refused surgery. After his fall, his doctor again recommended back surgery, but the insurer denied it saying he had no accident and his back problem was preexisting. We were able to obtain a report form the doctor saying the fall on the deck accelerated the need for back surgery. The doctor noted prior to the fall, Mr. Birkshed was able to do his ordinary work on the deck. This matter was set for trial before the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, but we reached a favorable settlement, which included payment of a $325,000 surgery bill.
$115,000 Workers’ Compensation Settlement for Back Injury
K. Prade injured her back at work on December 1, 2008 and filed a Virginia Workers’ Compensation claim. She underwent two operations on her back, but she was unable to return to her manufacturing job. She had a prior injury to her right hand which made clerical jobs difficult. I sought to obtain a good settlement for her even though her compensation rate was only $232.00 per week. The insurer resisted, arguing that she was working on the side in her own photography business. I finally managed to obtain a settlement of $115,000 for her back injury at work.
Social Security Claimant Wins Disability for Chronic Fatigue
S. Woolhauser suffers from Sarcoidosis and Multiple Sclerosis. Social Security had her examined by a general practitioner, who opined that she had a good range of motion in all her joints. The doctor also said the MS was in remission and she could do light work. At the hearing before the SSA Administrative Law Judge on January 9, 2013, I demonstrated that the general practitioner had overlooked the claimant’s chronic fatigue, which prevented her from staying at a work station for 8 hours a day 5 days a week. The Social Security Medical Examiner at the hearing agreed with my argument, and the Judge found the claimant disabled.
Work Comp Accident Resolved for 100% Hearing Loss in Left Ear
J. Camp suffered a fractured skull in a fall at work. As part of his injury, he became deaf in his left ear. The insurer refused to pay, asserting his hearing could get better or a BAHA operation could be done to improve his hearing. We obtained a report from his doctor that his hearing loss was total and that no operation would correct it. The Commissioner accepted the doctor’s statement that the BAHA procedure could only conduct sound from the good ear to the bad ear, but could not improve hearing in the bad ear. The Commissioner awarded Mr. Camp 100% loss of his hearing.
$177,000.00 Workers’ Compensation Back Injury Settlement After Mediation
J. Maxwell suffered a back injury accident at work in 2001. His employer accepted it and he then went back to work. He was doing drywall in Richmond, VA when he suffered a second accident at work in 2010. The insurer claimed he violated his work restrictions and they refused to pay for the second accident. We filed a claim for him with the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission. Prior to the hearing, the Commission conducted a mediation. As a result of the mediation, we obtained a $177,000.00 settlement for Mr. Maxwell.
Ashland Groundsman Settles Foot Injury Claim for $185,000
B. Sparks suffered a Virginia Workers’ Compensation accident when his tractor rolled over. He field a claim but the insurer delayed payment. He called a lawyer who said, “I will refer you to the best Worker’ Comp lawyer I know in Richmond, Virginia.” I quickly got Mr. Sparks his weekly compensation. The insurer also agreed to pay for three operations on his foot. After his last operation, Sparks was able to return to work, and I settled his case for $185,000.
$225,000 Settlement with Lifetime Medical Care for Shoulder Injury in Petersburg, VA
A. Terry fell from a cellular tower in Petersburg, Virginia. As a result of this accident, he filed a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits and retained our office. Due to his shoulder injury, he could no longer climb towers so he lost his $1,500.00 a week occupation. We were successful in obtaining benefits for him. I eventually worked out a settlement of his case with the carrier for this injury and accident. I obtained a $225.000.00 settlement of his case and he still retains his lifetime medical coverage for his right shoulder injury.
$178,990 Settlement for Back Injury in Williamsburg, VA
An Arizona man, T. Budde, contacted my office for help. He was injured in Williamsburg, Virginia when he injured his back in a fall from a pedestal at work. His doctor fused three of his lower discs. Despite the fusion, he continued to suffer from lower back pain and moved to Arizona. The insurance company cut off his weekly compensation claiming he refused a light duty job. We presented evidence showing there was no refusal. The insurance company then agreed to settle the case. Mr. Budde says he is having a Merry Christmas.
$150,000 Settlement for Work Comp Death Benefits in Farmville, VA
Mr. Smith died when his pickup ran off the road and hit a tree. He was traveling from one work site to another in Farmville, Virginia. His last cell phone message was his accelerator was sticking. Their expert said this did not cause the accident. The insurance company denied the claim on the grounds we could not prove what caused his accident and we could not prove he was “working” at the time of his accident. We settled the case without going to court for $150,000.00.
$86,000 Settlement for Race Horse Jockey Fall in New Kent, VA
C. McCormack injured his foot, elbow, and hand in a Colonial Downs steeple chase fall in New Kent, Virginia. He was unable to go back to horse racing. He filed a claim for workers compensation benefits and contacted my office. He tried to work as a horse trainer but that also required riding horses. After a hearing in Farmville, Virginia, at the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission, we were able to obtain a favorable settlement for him for his injuries.
$80,000 Settlement for Hand Injury from Construction Accident in Williamsburg, VA
A. Gonzales injured his arm in a fall from a ladder in a construction accident in Williamsburg, Virginia. We obtained a WC award for him for this injury at work. He moved back to Indiana and the insurance company tried to cut off his award and deny his claim. As his lawyer, I filed a claim before the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission that resulted in a settlement of more than $80,000.00 for him. We also obtained corrective surgery of his injured hand.
$55,000 Settlement for Knee Injury in Charlottesville, VA
C. McRaven was a 70-year-old master craftsman. He is the author of books on stone-working, and carpentry who injured his left knee in Charlottesville, VA and had a Virginia Workers Compensation Claim. The insurance company claimed he could do light duty work. We were able to show his knee injury prevented the type of light work they suggested. This resulted in a favorable settlement of his Virginia Workers Comp Claim including Medicare.
Motor Vehicle Accident Work Comp Denial Overturned in Richmond, VA
Mr. Smith had died in a motor vehicle accident. The insurance company said the accident was not compensable under Virginia Workers Compensation law and denied the widow’s claim. The insurance company claimed no one could explain the accident. We were able to find a witness who saw the accident from a block away. This witness provided enough evidence to win this Virginia Workers’ Compensation claim. This meant the widow was able to receive 500 weeks in Virginia Workers Compensation death benefits.
Full Social Security Disability Benefits for Scleroderma in Richmond, VA
M. Holloway had a problem. He was only 46 years old, but he had severe Scleroderma and diabetes and he could no longer work. Due to the Scleroderma, he was unable to use his hands. He filed for disability but was denied. He contacted our office. We worked with his Scleroderma doctor and diabetes doctor to obtain persuasive narrative reports about his disability. We had a hearing on his case and obtained a favorable decision on May 17, 2010 granting him full Social Security Disability benefits for him and his family.
Claim for Medical Bills due to Death from Work Injury
My paralegal Rose and I went to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission in Richmond, Virginia on May 9, 2010, for a Hearing on our claim for payment of a $293,000.00 hospital bill that the claimant had incurred in his last illness in North Carolina. We presented evidence to show his death arose out of his broken elbow, resulting osteomyelitis and other complications. He died on May 19, 2006 and the insurance company had refused to pay the hospital bill.