At Holland & Usry, we tell our clients, “It’s about you.” This case proves it.
Generally, I don’t advise considering a workers’ compensation settlement until you’re released by the doctor at maximum medical improvement with a permanent impairment rating. That way, you know the full value of your case. It’s important because workers’ compensation settlements can be extremely complicated and they involve critical rights, like your ability to get medical care in the future for your work injuries.
That didn’t happen here. My client Joe decided he got tired of dealing with the workers’ compensation insurance company controlling his treatment. The insurance company wanted to settle the case enough to satisfy our financial terms. So we did, and it worked out really well.
Joe and How He Found Me
For 30 years, Joe worked for a custom door manufacturer. When he got hurt, he worked as a production manager. He handled all scheduling, managed all production employees, and supervised the production floor.
I’m delighted to report he found me because our wives knew each other! Based on that relationship, Joe’s wife recommended me to him.
A Serious Head, Brain, and Neck Injury at Work
As Joe worked in an attic area at his company’s plant, he fell off the top of the stairs. He hit his head on a steel railing, knocking him out and causing him to fall back down the stairs—hitting the back of his head, neck, and left shoulder as he tumbled down. A co-employee discovered him on the floor, unable to talk and confused. His pupils were dilated, and he couldn’t remember anything about the fall or most of the day. EMTs who rushed him to the hospital in an ambulance actually reported him as a stroke victim.
Brain Injury Diagnosis and Treatment
Joe required a two-day inpatient hospitalization. His brain injury wasn’t severe enough to be a physical brain injury—the severest type of brain injury that results in the maximum workers’ compensation brain injury benefits—but it was still serious.
Initially, Joe got slammed with severe migraine-like headaches several times a week. His neurologist tried many treatments, but his pain management doctor’s cervical spine shots directly into his neck—called medial branch blocks and medial branch radiofrequency ablations—seemed to work best.
In addition to pain, he also struggled with sleep and memory loss. The neurologist recommended a neuropsychological assessment for memory loss.
Work Injuries Forced Joe to Change Careers, but He Didn’t Have to Give Up Control of His Case
Daily headaches and neck pain plagued Joe despite the relatively successful cervical spine shots. Worst, his loss of memory and concentration kept him from working for the company to his standard. As a result of this, he resigned from his position.
But that was nowhere near the end for Joe. He’s not one to sit at home and mope. He found something else to do that he enjoyed, paid the bills, and allowed him to work on his own schedule to accommodate his limitations. He became a licensed home inspector, which required him to pass an examination given by the state.
While Joe struggled with memory and concentration, he retained a keen insight and ability to make decisions. No doctor questioned that. He made it clear to me he wanted to take full control of his medical care if we could reach financial terms with the insurance company. To boil it down, he was sick of asking the insurance company for permission to see the doctor they chose. He wanted to go to the doctor of his choosing when he needed to, by just calling the office and setting it up himself—which workers’ comp won’t let you do.
I made sure he knew the rights he might be giving up by settling without knowing the full extent of his injuries. Once informed, his decision remained the same. Because he’s the boss and I’m the employee, I set out to achieve his goal by sending a demand letter to the insurance company’s attorney summarizing Joe’s fall, injuries, treatment, and limitations created by the work injury.
We Reach a Settlement to Help Secure Joe’s Financial Future
Long story short, I negotiated with opposing counsel, and they were able to meet our financial terms in a clincher settlement. In exchange for a payment to us, Joe gave up his right to have any more medical care paid for by workers’ comp. They paid Joe $75,000. That helped cushion him as he started his new home inspection business, and most importantly, gave him the freedom to control his medical care.
While I might not completely agree with Joe’s goals, I don’t judge him for it. I know every client has things in his or her life that I might not know or understand, which is why I mean it when I say your case is about you. There’s no doubt in my mind this worked out best for Joe, and I’m glad I could be part of it.