Pothitakis Law Firm was fortunate enough to be hired by H.N., a client who was involved in an industrial accident and sustained a left shoulder injury. The Claimant initially did not believe it was going to be a significant problem, but unfortunately, the condition continued to progress to the point where shoulder pain and headaches became severe. The Claimant ultimately was found to have a ligament tear in his shoulder and underwent a surgical procedure on his shoulder. Unfortunately, the surgery did not provide significant relief and Claimant was able to obtain an appointment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The doctors at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics determined that an additional surgery needed to be undertaken. In addition to the physical injuries, the Claimant was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The industrial accident was very traumatic to him and created many emotional and psychological difficulties for him.
Under the Iowa Workers' Compensation laws, mental and psychological injuries are compensable in the same fashion as are physical injuries. Pothitakis Law Firm filed a claim with the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner seeking benefits based upon how the shoulder and post-traumatic stress disorder prevented the Claimant from working. The Defendants vigorously fought the claim contending that the incident was not significant enough to cause post-traumatic stress or the severe shoulder injury.
The parties scheduled a mediation at which point attempts were made to settle the case. At the mediation, the parties were over $200,000 apart. The defendants indicated that if the case was not settled at mediation, they would likely proceed to hearing. Claimant walked away from the mediation expecting to go to trial on the case. Over the next few months, Pothitakis Law Firm, continued to negotiate with the defendants for resolution of the case. The case was ultimately settled and the Claimant received a lump sum payment, but closed out his right to any additional funds. However, the Claimant’s medical care in the future was left open and remained the responsibility of the Workers' Compensation insurance carrier.
The Claimant was happy with the results of the case as he had continued needs for medications in the future associated with his condition.