Keith was a devoted manager with decades of experience working in various positions in the utilities industry. He’s a sharp, high-wage earner with management skills who figured he could handle his South Carolina workers’ comp case.
So that’s what he did for about a year. He came to me overwhelmed, unsure of his rights, and increasingly worried the insurance company was looking for a way out of giving him the medical care he needed. He’d already had two shoulder operations with a potential knee operation looming.
Keith’s Injury and How South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Covers a Reinjury
Keith got hurt while stepping into the back of a work truck. As he did, he slipped on an aerosol can, twisting and popping his right knee, falling several feet off of the truck, and landing on his left shoulder.
Workers’ comp referred him to an orthopedic surgeon, who ordered a shoulder MRI due to his intense pain. The MRI revealed a rotator cuff tear, resulting in an immediate operation.
While the surgeon focused on his shoulder, his knee got worse. He required steroid shots—but he remained in agony.
Even worse, his shoulder got worse. The doctor ordered another MRI to address a potential re-injury.
That’s when Keith discovered a helpful benefit of South Carolina workers’ comp: it covers a reinjury if the reinjury is related to the workers’ comp injury. In Keith’s case, another MRI revealed a re-tear of the rotator cuff, meaning the original surgery failed and made his workers’ comp shoulder injury dramatically worse. Luckily, the workers’ comp insurance company approved a second operation to fix it.
When Keith returned to work at light duty, his knee got irritated from just walking around. His surgeon then reached a sad conclusion about his shoulder. The last surgery partially failed, and he might never get his strength back like it was before. Another operation wouldn’t help.
That was as good as his shoulder ever got. As for his knee, the surgeon recommended an operation.
How We Helped Keith Immediately After Taking Over His Workers’ Comp Case
After we took over, our team did two important things:
- We scrambled to obtain and analyze medical records to help advocate for proper treatment and build a case for a solid settlement based on the intensity of his injuries.
- We guided him through the insurance company’s demand for a second opinion about his knee operation. While the knee still hurt, Keith eventually found it improved with a brace the first surgeon gave him. When the second opinion doctor concluded surgery would be unhelpful, both Keith and the first surgeon decided he could go without it.
Getting a Good South Carolina Workers’ Comp Settlement for Shoulder and Knee Injuries
The most important thing we did was prevent Keith from a lowball settlement. As they always do in serious workers’ comp injury cases, the insurance company hired an attorney to protect their interests.
After Keith was released from treatment, we sent opposing counsel a demand letter summarizing his extensive medical care and painstakingly laid out the pain and limits the injury left Keith with forever. To help get him a bigger settlement, we pointed out Keith’s injuries were to multiple body parts, which causes greater permanent injury and disability.
- Permanent work restrictions assigned by the first surgeon of lifting no more than 20 pounds, with no crawling, climbing, or squatting, plus wearing a knee brace.
- Standing for over 20 minutes caused pain and swelling.
- Walking was very uncomfortable on uneven surfaces.
- It hurt to even put on a shirt or jacket.
- He could only drive about 30 minutes before needing to stop and stretch his leg.
But we go further than just medical problems, as we also present the personal impact these injuries have on them. To do that, we get to know our clients so we can understand who they are. Because we found out who Keith was as a person, we pointed out how these injuries deeply wounded him as a unique human soul:
- Because reaching and stretching his arm hurt so badly, Keith lost his ability to do a job at home he took pride in: routine vehicle maintenance, like changing the oil.
- He also lost a cherished hobby, deer hunting, specifically bowhunting. We pointed out this hurt him as a person because Keith was a highly active hunter who prided himself on stocking his freezer with meat he harvested himself.
After negotiations with opposing counsel, Keith decided to accept a $161,000.00 clincher settlement that gave him the financial stability to pursue other career options and life interests.
We’re thankful we got to know him and help him. We’re all thankful he found us before it was too late.