The Claimant slipped and fell at work and injured his neck. He went to the Emergency Room and was diagnosed with a neck strain. He went from the Emergency Room to the pharmacy to fill his prescription. On the way out of the pharmacy, he again slipped and fell and, once again, injured his neck. He went back to the hospital.
The Claimant reached an out of court settlement with the pharmacy for $25,000.00. He was not represented by a lawyer in the claim against the pharmacy.
Unfortunately, the Claimant’s condition progressively worsened over the next several months. He was visiting family in Virginia and was forced to go to the Emergency Room due to his increasingly severe symptoms. He had progressive weakness/numbness/tingling in his arms and legs. An MRI scan revealed a severely compressed spinal cord in the neck. He needed immediate surgery, but it was determined he had significant coronary artery disease. He had a triple bypass to stabilize him for the cervical surgery. Thereafter, he had the cervical surgery. It was unsuccessful. A second cervical surgery was immediately performed. When the Claimant came out of the operating room from the second cervical surgery, he was a quadriplegic. He lived as a quadriplegic for only about nine (9) months. The Claimant passed away due to his cardiac complications, which were exacerbated by the quadriplegia.
This claim was initially handled by the department head/partner of a different law firm. The attorney had lost hearings before the District Hearing Officer and the Regional Board of Review. Further, he did not insure that the medical bills were properly paid after the Regional Board Order and a self-insured complaint was filed against the Employer/Client. A hearing was held before the Self-Insured Review committee. The Employer/Client was fined $10,000.00, which, at the time, was the most severe penalty short of having a company’s self-insured status revoked.
As a result of the allowance of the claim, the Employer/Client was forced to pay approximately $650,000.00 in compensation and medical benefits. Also, the widow filed a death claim against the Employer/Client.
THOMAS & CO. RESULTS
Thomas & Co. was asked to cover the final hearing (SHO hearing) before the Industrial Commission “just so the case could be appealed into Court and settled.” We attended the hearing and convinced the Staff Hearing Officers to allow us to depose a physician which had performed a review at the request of the Industrial Commission. The physician changed his opinion during this deposition and at a subsequent hearing before the Staff Hearing Officers. We were successful in convincing the Industrial Commission to deny and disallow the claim for the quadriplegia. Thereafter and through Thomas & Co.’s negotiations with the widow’s attorney, no appeal was taken into the Common Pleas Court.
The Employer/Client Received A Surplus Fund Reimbursement of Approximately $650,000.00.