When a worker was hurt on the job, he expected his employer’s workers’ compensation insurance to help pay for his medical costs. Instead, the insurance carrier wanted to delay surgery and downplay our client’s injuries. That’s why our team stepped up to the plate to help make this injured worker whole again—securing him $227,942 in the process.
We sat down with Farah & Farah workers’ compensation attorney Erika Brenneman to get the details on how she was able to leverage the legal process, flip the script and secure a fantastic outcome for a very deserving client.
What Happens When You’re Hurt at Work?
Our client’s case began like any normal day, while he was working hard at his job at a big home improvement store. Unloading merchandise on top of one the large forklifts you see in the aisles, our client, Scott, bent over to move a particularly heavy piece. As he did so, he felt a sudden sharp pain in his lower back and knew instantly that he’d seriously injured himself. When the pain persisted, Scott saw his doctor who recommended surgery; however, his employer’s workers’ compensation insurance balked at authorizing such a serious treatment.
In his line of work, Scott was used to lifting and moving heavy objects around the store, but now he wasn’t able to do his job. Worse, the treatment his doctor was saying he needed wasn’t being authorized, which left Scott in an impossible situation. That’s when he turned to workers’ compensation attorney Erika Brenneman for help.
Sciatic Nerve Pain Can Be Debilitating
As a result of his workplace accident, Scott had chronic left and right sciatic nerve damage. The Mayo Clinic explains that the pain associated with sciatica can be severe. Since the pain travels along the path of the sciatic nerve, people suffering from sciatica can feel radiating pain running down from their lower back through the hips and down each leg. Risk factors include jobs where carrying heavy loads and twisting are performed regularly, which Scott’s job certainly entailed.
Surgery, Pain Management, and a Life Forever Changed
After Scott was hurt, he bravely tried to do what he could to get back to work. But with his injuries being so severe, he simply wasn’t able to do what he once enjoyed. When you’re hurt and not able to work at your job, sitting around doing nothing can almost be as hard as the injury itself. More so, Scott is a proud veteran who served our country with distinction. For him, he described dealing with the headaches of workers’ compensation insurance and his injuries as a bigger struggle than his deployments.
Because of Scott’s injuries, his attending physician recommended surgery to ease his pain. Waiting and waiting to hear a decision, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier failed to authorize the surgery in any sort of timely fashion.
Disregarding an injured worker who’s in constant pain isn’t a time when we stand idly by and wait to see what happens. That’s when Scott’s attorney, Erika Brenneman, went to work to get the treatment his doctor was saying he desperately needed.
By filing a petition, Erika was able to get the surgery authorized and Scott could finally start to move forward. Sadly, Scott didn’t do well with the surgery and required pain management, many rounds of injections, and, finally, a spinal cord stimulator to help ease his pain.
Why Would Insurance Fight So Hard?
When you figure that workers’ compensation insurance literally has your back, it can be a major blow when the carrier tries to avoid treatments or severely limit the amount they’re willing to pay. Being in his forties at the time of the accident, Scott was relatively young. And yet, he faced a lifetime of continued treatments for chronic pain related to his workplace accident.
When Scott decided to call a Florida workers’ compensation attorney, it was because the insurance carrier was delaying his treatment. To make matters worse, this event happened during the height of the pandemic, so even getting an adjuster on the phone was difficult at best. Meanwhile, Scott was hurting and not getting the help he deserved. Once Erika got on his case, Scott’s road to recovery began.
How Do You Arrive at the Right Number for Settlement?
Because Scott was so badly injured and it would be nearly impossible for him to return to his previous job, Erika made the argument that he be considered permanently disabled, which would provide a longer term of benefits. That distinction was crucial as Erika put together a figure to adequately address all of Scott’s present and future medical costs.
In workers’ compensation cases, injured workers are assigned what’s known as an impairment rating based on how their injuries take away from their everyday abilities. That rating is on a sliding scale and is used to calculate the total amount of impairment benefits a claimant is entitled to. The insurance carrier may try to downplay a worker’s injuries, which is why our team uses top medical experts to make sure we’re seeking the maximum benefits available.
With how workers’ compensation benefits are paid out, claimants could receive a series of smaller payments for months on end, but this isn’t always enough to cover everything the accident takes away.
That’s why Erika fought to get all of Scott’s payments paid out in a lump sum. “I didn’t want to sell my client short,” Erika recalls. “It’s a drop in the bucket to the carrier, but, to your client, it’s the world.” In the end, Erika was able to secure Scott more than a quarter of a million dollars for everything he endured.
What Was the Client’s Reaction?
Fighting for our clients isn’t some stale corporate slogan; it’s what our attorneys do every day. It’s what it means to be an attorney at Farah & Farah. Getting more than $227,000 for Scott meant that he now has the ability to figure out what he wants to do in life and what he’s capable of after his accident. His words of appreciation say it all:
“Without you, I don’t think I’d be where I am today. You guys brought me back to life. I’ve been given a second lease on life and I’m not trading it in for anything. Thanks again for all of your help, and I love and appreciate you and your team,” Scott told Erika.
Hurt at Work and Worried About What Comes Next? Let’s Talk!
If you’ve been hurt in an accident at work and are worried about how you’re going to get through it, you can contact an attorney today to talk things over. Our team will dive in and review the details to help outline your next best steps.