Settlement In Moore-Bertuzzi Case

Posted by Lindsay Nass | Posted in Personal Injury News

Former Colorado Avalanche, Steve Moore, has settled his lawsuit against Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks regarding a career-ending hit to the head; both sides agreed to a confidential out-of-court settlement on August 19th.

Bertuzzi’s lawyer, Geoff Adair, verified the case was “settled in its totality,” but could not state specifics to the settlement, according to ESPN.

The agreement came less than three weeks before a civil trial and after eight years of litigation. Moore was pursuing $68 million in damages.

“We are pleased that the resolution of this matter allows the parties to turn the page and look to the future,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly via email.

On March 8, 2004, during a game between Colorado and Vancouver, ex-Canuck Bertuzzi sucker punched Moore in the back of the head; the hit was supposedly retaliation for Moore’s hit against Canucks captain Markus Naslund in a previous game. Bertuzzi fell on top of Moore and several players piled on top.

Moore suffered three broken vertebrae in his neck, a grade three concussion, ligament and nerve damage; he also experienced bouts of amnesia. The rookie never returned to professional ice.

Moore, as quoted in a CBC article: “I lost my entire career in my rookie year. I think any player put in that situation would do the same thing. I can’t recover anything else. I can’t recover my career, the experience of living out my dream from the time I was two and half years old of playing in the NHL.”

$38 million of the civil suit represented “lost hockey wages, punitive and compensatory damages,” and the remaining $30 million accounted for “lost wages from a post hockey career,” according to the same CBC article. Although Moore has a Harvard degree, he states he is unable to obtain any work equal to his education due to the concussion.

Bertuzzi was suspended by the NHL for 13 regular-season games and the entirety of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 2006, Bertuzzi plead guilty to criminal assault and was sentenced to one year probation and 80 hours of community service.



Settlement Deal for a Man Wrongly Incarcerated

Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News


The city of New York and wrongly incarcerated, David Ranta, came to a $6.4 million settlement deal after Ranta spent over 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

In a 1990 case, Ranta was convicted of murdering a rabbi during an attempted robbery based on circumstantial evidence and witness testimony.

When the CUI, Conviction Integrity Unit, reviewed the case in 2011, gaps were found in the case and new information came to light.

It was said that certain witnesses were either coached or incentivized to provide inaccurate testimony.

Upon his release in March of 2013, Ranta filed multiple claims against the city: malicious prosecution, wrongful conviction and wrongful imprisonment.

In the malicious prosecution claim, Ranta was looking for $150 million in damages.

Scott Stringer, Comptroller for New York City, announced the settlement although it is unclear whether or not the malicious prosecution was included in the $6.4 million sum.

In a statement Stringer announced, “After a review process and negotiations, my office was able to reach a settlement with Mr. Ranta that is in the best interests of all parties and closes the door in a truly regrettable episode in our city’s history.”



Citi Bike Faces First Personal Injury Lawsuit

Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News


Citi Bike, a bike share system in New York City since May 2013, is being sued in a personal injury case, along with the city of New York for $15 million.

A 73-year-old man from Westport, Connecticut, is suing Citi Bike and New York City for nerve damage he experienced when crashing one of the bikes.

Ronald Corwin reportedly flipped the bike after hitting a concrete barrier near East 56th Street and Madison avenue, close to a Citi Bike docking station.

The concrete barrier in question is a “wheelstop” which is 6-feet wide and 6-inches tall. Corwin said it blended in with the road and there were no colored markings or cones to draw attention to it.

The accident caused him nerve damage, leaving him unable to smell or taste.

The contract between New York City and Citi Bike protects the city and places all responsibility on Citi Bike.

Since Corwin’s accident, another has occurred in the same spot and now there are both cones and colored markings to make the “wheelstop” more noticeable.



Victims of Philadelphia Building Collapse File Personal Injury Claims

Posted by jclark | Posted in Personal Injury News

One week after a building in Philadelphia collapsed with several people inside, two people injured in the collapse have already filed personal injury lawsuits against the parties they believe caused the collapse, according to a report from Philadelphia Magazine.

Sources say the first lawsuit was filed by 54-year-old Nadine White, a mother of three who was working inside a Salvation Army store when the building next door, which was under demolition, collapsed and fell on the nearby structure.

Sources report that White was one of 14 survivors pulled from the rubble of the fallen building last week, although two of her co-workers reportedly died in the tragic collapse.

In White’s lawsuit, the injured plaintiff targets Richard Basciano, the owner of the building that caused the collapse, and Griffin Campbell, the demolition contractor the owner hired to begin a controlled dismantling of the structure.

According to her claim, the contractor failed to conduct an engineering site survey before starting the demolition, as required by federal laws covering demolitions.

In addition, the plaintiff in the building negligence lawsuit claims that the contractor failed to laterally brace the walls of the building, as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

In the lawsuit, White alleges that the wall that collapsed, causing the tragic domino effect, was not properly braced.

Just a few days after White filed her injury lawsuit, personal injury attorneys for Linda Bell filed another claim on behalf of their client, who was also injured in the collapse, which took place at 22nd and Market in Philadelphia.

In this lawsuit, Bell, 50, says she was shopping at the Salvation Army store when the building collapsed. Bell told the court that was buried under debris for at least 15 minutes before she was rescued.

The resident of South Philadelphia also claims that she suffered “severe back injuries” as a result of the building’s collapse, according to sources.

Bell’s lawsuit also targets the owner of the fallen building and the company behind the demolition. And the judge in the case issued a preliminary order granting Bell’s attorneys permission to inspect the area of the collapse this week.

According to sources, the order says that “counsel and experts for all parties shall have the right to inspect, photograph, and video record the demolition of the area of the subject collapse.”

The defendants in the case were also ordered to “preserve all documents related to the demolition project at issue including: all permits, engineering surveys, demolition plans, shoring plans, site surveys, deeds, property records, applications and all other related documents.”



Woman Injured in Horrific Rail Crash Files Train Accident Lawsuit

Posted by jclark | Posted in Personal Injury News

A 65-year-old woman who was injured in a dramatic train crash last month in Connecticut has filed a negligence lawsuit against Metro-North Railroad, according to a report from ABC News.

Sources say the woman, Elizabeth Sorenson, a resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut, suffered multiple bone fractures and remains in critical condition as doctors tend to a severe brain injury.

The lawsuit was the first claim filed by a victim of the crash that occurred on May 17. According to sources, the crash injured more than 70 people.

Sorenson’s personal injury attorney told sources that he filed the lawsuit in federal court in order to gain access to witnesses that observed the accident and to allow families of the victims to become involved in the investigation.

Sources expect more lawsuits to eventually be filed in the wake of the massive train accident, which happened at 6:10 p.m. on a weekday as the train carried 300 passengers from New York’s Grand Central Station to New Haven, Connecticut.

The train reportedly derailed near a highway overpass in the town of Bridgeport, and was then struck by a train holding 400 passengers that was headed the opposite direction.

The damage caused by the accident was “absolutely staggering,” according to Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, as he observed the scene. Sources say parts of the roof of some of the train cars had been torn off, and that some of the tracks were noticeably twisted.

Three people remain in critical condition after the accident, and the National Transportation Safety Board has launched a full investigation into the wreck.

Thus far, investigators have yet to isolate the cause of the accident, but the impact was so severe, some passengers initially thought it may have been caused by a bomb.

“We came to a sudden halt. We were jerked. There was smoke. People were screaming; people were really nervous. We were pretty shaken up. They had to smash a window to get us out,” said one passenger traveling from New York.

Another passenger told local sources that they “went flying” and reported that “one entire compartment was completely ripped open.”

Most of the 70 passengers who were injured received prompt treatment at the site of the accident, but three victims are still in critical condition, according to reports.

According to report from train officials, the tracks involved in the collision suffered “extensive infrastructure damage,” and the train involved in the accident will “need to be removed by crane” following a thorough investigation.



Panda Express Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit With Teenage Workers

Posted by jclark | Posted in Personal Injury News

The popular fast food chain Panda Express agreed to pay $150,000 to at least three former employees who were allegedly victims of sexual harassment at a store in Hawaii, according to a report from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Sources say the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Panda Express last September after several female employees lodged complaints.

The complaints, which went as far back as 2008, were made by female employees who were all between the ages of 17 and 19, according to sources.

A single restaurant in Kapaa, Hawaii, was the target of the lawsuit, which alleged that a supervisor at a Panda Express in the Kauai Village Shopping Center made regular sexual advances towards the girls.

In addition, the supervisor allegedly demanded sexual favors from several workers, and made a series of graphic comments that were sexual in nature, according to the complaint.

But Panda Express failed to take proper actions to control the supervisor, according to the EEOC, even though the employees reported the sexual harassment to the store’s manager, sources say.

Shortly thereafter, with the aid of the EEOC, the girls, who remain unnamed, filed a personal injury lawsuit against Panda Express, which ended with a settlement worth $150,000, according to reports.

In addition, as part of the settlement, Panda Express signed a two-year agreement that requires the store to designate one employee as the in-house equal employment opportunity coordinator.

Moreover, the store will have to revise its policies and procedures aimed at preventing sexual harassment, and it will be required to provide sexual harassment training each year to every Panda Express manager in Hawaii.

And while these measures may seem punitive, the risk of going to trial ultimately proved too large for Panda Express, which may have lost much more money had the chain failed to settle the case.

After the settlement was announced, representatives from the EEOC praised the company’s belated willingness to address the issue.

According to Anna Park, an attorney for the EEOC office that has jurisdiction over Hawaii, the agency commends Panda Expressed “for working with the EEOC to correct serious lapses in dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace.”

Park also said the agency trusts that “Panda Express’s company values are consistent with the goals of the EEOC’s mission,” and she commended the restaurant “for agreeing to broader injunctive remedies to ensure that the workers in Hawaii are protected.”



Tornado Tears Through Oklahoma

Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News


Moore, Oklahoma was hit by a tornado yesterday that registered a preliminary ranking of EF4, the second most powerful tornado category, on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

Winds were reported up to 200 mph.

Area hospitals that are still standing have reported approximately 240 people injured, with at least 60 of them being children.

Injuries sustained from the natural disaster range from minimal to severe as Moore mayor, Glenn Lewis, described the aftermath, “The whole city looks like a debris field.”

At least one local hospital was taken by the tornado.

Two area elementary schools stood directly in the path of the tornado, Briarwood Elementary School and Plaza Towers Elementary School.

It was reported last night that all Briarwood Elementary School children had been accounted for. Firefighters from many different fire departments continued to work through the night to find survivors at Plaza Towers.

Yesterday, 51 deaths had been reported but the chief administrative officer at the Oklahoma City Medical Examiner’s Office, Amy Elliott, later went on record to say, “We have got good news. The number right now is 24. The prior figure of 51 dead may have included some double-reported casualties.”

President Obama declared the area a major disaster area and ordered federal aid to Moore, Oklahoma.



Paralyzed Footballer Wins Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Helmet Maker

Posted by jclark | Posted in Personal Injury News

A football player who suffered a traumatic spine injury during high school won a landmark personal injury lawsuit against Riddell, a major helmet manufacturer, according to a report from the Denver Business Journal.

According to sources, Rhett Ridolfi, who has been paralyzed on his left side since an injury suffered during a football drill in 2008, was awarded a total of $11.5 million by a jury in Las Animas County, Colorado.

Sources say Riddell plans to appeal the decision because it believes the court wrongfully excluded testimony from one of its experts, but Ridolfi and his personal injury attorney remain confident that the decision will stand.

And while the $11.5 million decision is certainly a financial burden for Riddell, the potential ramifications for the company extend well beyond Rhett Ridolfi.

In this case, the jury found that Riddell failed to warn athletes who wore their helmets about the potential dangers of concussions, which could change the entire landscape of head injury lawsuits, at least in the state of Colorado.

With the discovery that Riddell was negligent in its failure to properly warn football players that helmets did not make them immortal, several pending cases could turn against the helmet maker, according to sources.

Ridolfi’s attorney believes the decision could potentially cost Riddell billions of dollars, and he expressed amazement that the company had the audacity to try the case in the first place.

And the plaintiff’s attorney also told sources that the statute of limitations may not affect head injuries suffered years ago, so Riddell could soon face a wave of lawsuits from people whose injuries may be distant memories.

The biggest challenge currently facing Riddell is a lawsuit filed by thousands of former players in the National Football League, which has an exclusive deal with Riddell to provide its helmets.

The personal injury claim, which was filed in July 2012, claims that both the NFL and Riddell negligently allowed players to suffer serious brain injuries.

Both the NFL and Riddell have moved to dismiss the case, but the judge in a U.S. District Court in Philadelphia has yet to rule on either motion.

And the decision in Colorado won’t necessarily hold any sway over this decision, as federal tort law and Colorado tort law are distinct entities.

But Riddell has reason to be nervous, which may have prompted the company’s recent statement that it remains “steadfast” in its “belief that Riddell designs and manufactures the most protective football headgear for the athlete.”



Personal Injury Lawsuit Claims Doctor Operated on Wrong Side of Brain

Posted by jclark | Posted in Medical Malpractice

A personal injury lawsuit filed by a Missouri woman claims that a St. Louis neurosurgeon operated on the wrong side of her brain, according to an alarming report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Sources say that 53-year-old Regina Turner was the victim of an allegedly botched brain operation, and as a result of the trauma, is no longer able to speak intelligibly.

According to Turner’s personal injury attorney, she was scheduled to have a craniotomy bypass on the left side of her head on April 4 at St. Clare Health Center in Fenton, Missouri, sources say.

But Turner alleges that Dr. Armond Levy, a 46-year-old neurosurgeon who has battled several malpractice lawsuits during his career, performed the operation on the wrong side of her brain.

Once doctors realized they had made a mistake, they performed the same operation on the correct side of her brain six days later, according to sources.

Unfortunately, the new operation allegedly failed to reverse the damage caused by the first, and Turner is now no longer able to take care of herself, which she was able to do before the operation.

According to the lawsuit, Turner now requires “around the clock care for her basic needs,” and also continues to suffer from a broad range of maladies, including “emotional distress, anxiety, disfigurement, and depression.”

In addition to her surgeon, the lawsuit also names SSM Health Care-St. Louis, the owner of St. Clare Health Center, as a defendant, and accuses it and her doctor of “negligence and carelessness” stemming from a “wrong-sided surgery.”

Officials at SSM refused to comment on the pending medical malpractice claim, but Bill Hoefer, a spokesman for St. Clare Health Center, told sources that the hospital remains “committed to patient safety and the highest-quality health care.”

In addition, Hoefer noted that, “if a medical error does occur, we take it very seriously. We investigate thoroughly to see what processes can be changed to prevent it from ever happening again, and then we make those changes immediately.”

Sources say Levy, the alleged target of the suit, which only identifies the doctor as “A.L.,” is a board-certified neurosurgeon.

But despite his certification, the lawsuit alleges that Levy failed to exercise reasonable care. It also alleges that his staff “stood by and watched A.L. operate on the wrong side of the plantiff’s skull and brain when they could have prevented the error.”

According to sources, Turner is asking for enough personal injury damages to “punish” SSM and the neurosurgeon for their “indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of Regina Turner.”



Family of Slain Teenager Awarded Millions in Car Accident Lawsuit

Posted by jclark | Posted in Car Accident Cases

After four years of grieving, the family of a teenager who was killed during her walk to school has finally received legal relief, according to a report from NBC News.

Sources report that the family of Ashley Davis, who died at the tender age of 13 after being struck by a car, was awarded $90 million in personal injury compensation by a jury in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

The accident that led to the car accident lawsuit occurred on the morning of September 1, 2009, when a Lincoln Continental slammed into Davis as she was crossing the road to reach her bus stop, according to sources.

After hitting Davis, the driver of the SUV also struck a minivan and a 17-year-old boy, while classmates of Davis watched in horror.

As a result of the accident, Davis, a freshman at Crossland High School, suffered severe injuries and died after two weeks of intense medical efforts.

At trial, the victim’s mother, Nycole Davis, noted that her daughter was “doing the right thing” by going to school and lamented that the teenager “didn’t deserve” to meet such a tragic end.

According to the family’s personal injury attorney, the school board was negligent because it failed to follow the policy it had adopted in order to “provide for safe transportation.”

That policy, according to the wrongful death attorney, was to “pick up Ashley on her own side of the street.” Instead of following the policy, however, the bus driver typically “forced her to cross the street.”

And the mother of Ashley Davis believes that if “she didn’t have to cross the street,” her daughter would be “going to prom” and “graduating this year.”

After an emotional trial, the jury sided with the Davis family, and awarded an unprecedented $90 million in personal injury damages, as well as money to cover medical expenses and funeral costs, according to sources.

Nycole Davis told sources that she wasn’t looking for such a large sum of money, but instead was determined to see that someone was “held responsible for what happened to my daughter.

Sources note, however, that the case may not be over. According to a statement released from Prince George’s County Public Schools, the case is still being fought, and a judgment has yet to be officially entered.

Reports also say that the relief award could be well above the state’s limits for lawsuits against public schools. So while the Davis family seems to have won a significant court victory, they may never see the $90 million the jury awarded.



Explosions at the Boston Marathon

Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News


People at the Boston Marathon are getting a lot more than they bargained for today, on Patriot’s Day. As thousands of runners were crossing the finish line 2 separate explosions occurred at the bases of buildings.

It is too early to get reports on how many people were injured in the explosions, but so far dozens are being reported and ambulances are trying to maneuver through the area. Injuries are being described as those similar to injuries obtained in war zones.

“There was an explosion. Police, fire and EMS (emergency medical services) are on the scene, we have no indication of how many people are injured,” a spokesman for the Boston Police Department said.

The explosions happened approximately 5 hours into the race. The marathon has been suspended. No one is currently allowed in or out of the hotel that is serving as headquarters for the event. The transit area has shut down all service to the area.

Disclaimer: This video of one of the marathon explosions shows at least one person getting injured upon impact.

Precautionary measures are being taken in Boston, New York and Washington D.C. in case this was a terrorist attack, but it is being said it is far too early to draw any conclusions.


As of 4:08pm eastern time, April 15th, the Boston Police Department is reporting 2 dead and 23 injured.

As of 6:00pm eastern time, April 15th, over 100 people are being treated.

As of 10:40am eastern time, April 16th, 3 people are confirmed dead and 176 injured.



State Lawmaker Accused of Drunk Driving in Car Accident Lawsuit

Posted by jclark | Posted in Personal Injury News

A personal injury lawsuit filed this week accuses Connecticut State Rep. Christina Ayala of fleeing the scene of an accident caused by her own drunk driving, according to a report from the Norwich Bulletin.

Sources say the lawsuit, filed by 26-year-old Krystal Valez, claims that Ayala was under the influence of alcohol when she ran her car into a vehicle driven by Valez. The lawsuit also alleges that Ayala fled the scene of the accident.

The accident in question occurred last August, when Ayala’s 2007 Nissan Sentra allegedly struck a 2002 Honda Accord being driven by Valez.

Ayala allegedly fled the scene of the accident, but a person who witnessed the crash followed her car and eventually forced her to pull over about six blocks from the location of the collision, according to sources.

When Ayala was questioned by officers after the accident, she claimed that she tried to check on Valez following the collision, but that she decided to leave the scene because she felt “scared” due to the presence of a man who was screaming at her.

Interestingly, when police took Ayala into custody, they did not test her for alcohol, because they claimed she did not appear to be intoxicated. Nevertheless, the lawsuit filed by Valez alleges that Ayala was drunk at the time of the crash.

The plaintiff claims that she suffered back injuries and a concussion as a result of the accident, and that her medical costs amount to roughly $11,000.

Valez, however, will have to refute the testimony of Ayala’s father, Alberto Ayala, who claims that his daughter had not been drinking before the accident, according a statement given to the Connecticut Post.

Of course, Alberto Ayala has every incentive to make this claim, because not only is he the driver’s father, he is also named as a defendant in the car accident lawsuit.

Unfortunately for Christina Ayala, a native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, the pending personal injury lawsuit is the least of her legal concerns.

Sources say Ayala, who is serving her first term in the state legislature, was officially charged with failing to renew her driver’s registration, failing to obey a traffic signal, and evading responsibility.

During her latest court hearing, Ayala was told by her judge that she could accept a plea bargain offered by prosecutors or stand trial for her criminal counts.

Under the plea deal, Ayala would receive a suspended sentence and have an extended period of probation. Sources say Ayala has three weeks to make her choice.



Kevin Ware Gruesome Injury, Successful Surgery

Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News


Yesterday, college basketball fans and people throughout the nation, gasped and hoped for the best for Kevin Ware, the Louisville Cardinals’ guard who suffered a gruesome leg injury during their NCAA Midwest Regional final win over the Duke Blue Devils.

Ware jumped up to defend against a shot behind the arc and his right leg buckled as he landed, sending him into excruciating pain directly in front of the Louisville bench.

The leg was reportedly broken in two places and will likely take at least a year to recover from the injury.

Viewer discretion advised for those wanting to watch the video. If you prefer not to see the actual break, focus on the players on the bench and their reaction.

The whole stadium watched and prayed in a stunned silence as paramedics rushed in to attend to Ware whose bone was sticking out of his leg.

Players and coaches from both teams looked on and huddled together, many visibly emotional and shaken up, all hoping for the best for Ware. The injury was so bad that CBS did not replay it.

“The bone’s 6 inches our of his leg and all he’s yelling is, “Win the game, win the game,” coach Rick Pitino said.

Collapsing to his own hands and feet at the sight of Ware’s injury, the Cardinal’s Chane Behanan commented, “The bone was literally out. I saw white, it was literally out.”

Ware was taken off the court on a stretcher, to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where they re-set his bone and inserted a rod into his right tibia during a two hour surgery.

Ware is expected to remain in the hospital for a couple days and hopes to rejoin the team in Atlanta as they continue on to the Final Four. There is no timetable set on his return to the court.



Doctor Faces Second Personal Injury Lawsuit for Sexual Misconduct

Posted by jclark | Posted in Personal Injury News

Doctors are placed in a position of extreme trust, so when they abuse that trust, the consequences are often costly, both in a criminal and a civil sense.

This week, an Illinois doctor who already lost his medical license earlier this month is facing a second personal injury lawsuit stemming from his alleged sexual misconduct, according to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times.

The doctor, Kishor Jain, a pediatrician by training, has already been charged with felony sex crimes, and is currently facing another lawsuit in Will County, Illinois. He has now been accused by six different women of groping them during office visits, according to sources.

The latest personal injury claim was launched by 34-year-old Kelly Meister, who claims that Jain touched her breast after putting his hand down her shirt. During another visit, Jain reportedly “massaged” her breast and “was making panting sounds as if he was clearly enjoying himself.”

Meister, who says the incidents happened between 2007 and 2011, also claims that Jain frequently aimed “inappropriate and sexual comments” in her direction.

And Meister isn’t alone. Sources say her personal injury attorney also represents another woman, 29-year-old Jessica Schubbe, who filed the initial lawsuit against Jain.

According to sources, Schubbe’s civil lawsuit raised red flags at the state attorney’s office. After an investigation, prosecutors accused Jain of molesting five different women, and the doctor was arrested on February 15. He was later released on a $10,000 bond.

And while Jain is awaiting judgment in both civil and criminal courts, he has already started to suffer consequences for his alleged actions. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has suspended his medical license, and Jain is no longer with his former clinic.

One factor that has upset Jain’s alleged victims is that he has escaped similar allegations in the past. Jain was reportedly arrested in January 2002 for an alleged assault of a 21-year-old patient, but the case was later expunged after a jury found Jain not guilty.

But later that year, two more patients, Kerry Tadej and Robin Mendoza, filed a lawsuit against Jain in which they claimed the controversial doctor had “fondled and touched” them during office visits. This case, however, was settled outside of court in May 2007, according to sources.

With the latest lawsuit, and the pending criminal trial, it appears that Jain’s luck in avoiding prosecution for his actions may have finally run out.



Elements of Worker’s Compensation

Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in On-the-Job Injuries

If you are injured on the job, you may be entitled to Worker’s Compensation. It’s that simple. You don’t have to prove that someone was negligent, or that the accident was preventable, or that it was someone’s fault. Generally, you will need to show 3 things:

  1. There was an accident
  2. It was “on the job”
  3. You were injured as a result

Although it might seem self-explanatory, there are a few issues to consider. As far as accidents are concerned, about all that isn’t covered is an intentional act on the part of the injured person. Also, we don’t generally think of occupational illnesses as being caused by “accidents”, they can be covered also.

Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by repetitive-stress conditions such as working an optical scanner is a common example, but a heart attack can, under the right circumstances, may be covered as well, even though factors outside of the job may have contributed to the condition.

Whether an event is in the course of employment can be contested. Factors that can be looked at include the location of the accident, the job duties of the individual, what the person was doing at the time of the accident and whether the person was “on the clock”.

As to the injuries, one must show that there was an injury and that it was caused by the accident. For example, orthopedic injuries are very often accompanied by chronic conditions. You might have bulging discs in your back and never know it. Then you strain your back, get an MRI and find that you have a bulging disc.

Your employer may not be liable for the disc, but may have to pay for the treatment if the back strain on the job exacerbated that condition to the point where it became painful, thus requiring treatment.

You will need to fill out the paperwork related to your claim and your doctor will need to certify that the treatment is medically necessary and that it is due to the injury received on the job. If the employer and its insurance company do what they are supposed to do, you likely wouldn’t need the assistance of a lawyer.

If you have a valid, covered claim, your medical expenses should be covered as well as two-thirds of your loss of pay. Also, the pay is calculated on the average weekly wage of the 52 weeks before the accident. This can be tricky if you had brief spikes of overtime, seasonal layoffs, or commissioned income.

If you are receiving worker’s comp pay, one problem you could encounter is learning that your loss of pay benefits have been cut off. No hearing, no warning, not even a phone call. Someone in the insurance company decided that you were well enough to return to work, so they terminated your benefits.

Now you have to fight to get them back. You need to know what information was used to make the determination and come up with counter-information. Then there will be a hearing before the Worker’s Compensation Board to determine who is right. Many people in this situation turn to a lawyer to represent them.

Because you received worker’s compensation, you can’t sure your employer and you cannot recover for pain and suffering. This is the trade-off. You don’t have to prove that the employer was negligent, so you are covered even if the employer was not at fault. But, even if you can prove that your employer was at fault, violated safety rules, failed to address repeated accidents or known hazards, you don’t get a dollar more.

However, in some situations, you may be able to recover from a “third party.” For example, you slip and fall because the janitorial company applied the wrong kind of wax. You are covered by worker’s comp but you may be able to sue the janitorial company. The comp carrier will get reimbursed for any money they spent on your, but you can recover for that one-third of income you lost, plus pain and suffering.

If your job requires you to travel and you are injured in a car, you should also be covered by no-fault insurance. You can’t recover twice for one loss, but you can reduce your losses: Worker’s comp covers two-thirds of your loss of income, but no-fault covers 80% so worker’s comp would pay you the first two-thirds, then you can recover the additional 13.33% from no-fault.

Finally, if you have a permanent injury, you may be able to get a “schedule award” which is based on a formula depending on the extent of your disability and your rate of pay, offset by payments you have already received. But, you may want to get some advice as to whether the schedule award is your best option.

Depending on your situation, you may be better off getting disability payments and having your medical expenses taken care of.

The bottom line is: any time you are injured on the job, report it. You may not realize at first how injured you are. You may be entitled to coverage if you need medical attention or are unable to work due to your injuries.

This is your right as an employee and your employer’s legal obligation. But in order to protect your rights, make sure to report accidents and injuries, make sure the correct paperwork is filled out and timely submitted , and that your doctor is supplying the information that the insurance company needs to fulfill its responsibilities.

This article was written by guest blogger, Andrew T. Velonis.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or should be formed by use of the site. The attorney listings on the site are paid attorney advertisements. Your access of/to and use of this site is subject to additional Supplemental Terms.