Workers Compensation- Case Settlement of a Work Injury Claim

Date: June 17, 2014
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I recently secured a six-figure settlement of a workers compensation case on behalf of a client who had injured his back while employed by a local business. My client had collected compensation for a little more than four years after the injury. Though medical treatment had allowed him to regain some function, he had not fully recovered and was not able to return to his pre-injury job.  The insurance carrier for the employer retained a vocational consultant to perform what’s referred to as a labor market survey or earning power assessment. This involved an assessment of my client’s past work experience, his educational background, and his tranferable vocational skills.  The vocational consultant then located jobs which he opined my client could perform. The insurance carrier then filed a petition to stop paying wage loss benefits to my client based upon the  “availability” of these alternative jobs. It was during this process that my client- a hard-working, middle-aged man with a solid 20+ year work history with the same employer- advised me of something that he never told anyone before; he was not able to read and write. He told me that he had been able to “fake it” by memorizing things and through some help from co-workers. My client told me that he never told anyone of this as he was embarrassed. I assured him that he had nothing to be embarrassed about. I then retained a vocational expert who performed testing of my client’s literacy and math skills. The testing confirmed that his math and literacy skills were at an elementary school level. When I brought this to the attention of the attorney for the insurance carrier, settlement negotiations commenced. I pursued the theory that my client’s limited academic skills effectively eliminated him from being a candidate to perform the alternative postions which were loacted, all of which required some proficiency in math skills and the ability to read and write. As the carrier was then faced with starting from square one, a favorable settlement was reached. I’m also pleased to report that my client has now completed remedial classes and is able to read, write and perform math calculations.

If you’ve suffered a work injury and have questions about your claim, contact me at tcummings@dlplaw.com or call (570) 347-1011 for a free consultation.

 

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.