Neck Injury With Significant Settlement & Open Medical Care

V.S. contacted Pothitakis Law Firm with respect to a Workers' Compensation injury which occurred in December of 2012. At that time, she slipped on ice in a parking lot, falling to the ground. She sustained an injury to her neck and shoulder and ultimately underwent surgery on both her cervical spine and her right shoulder.

Despite the surgical interventions, V.S. continued to have pain and discomfort in her cervical spine and shoulder. Further, she continued to suffer from headaches. The defendants contended that the Claimant’s ongoing complaints were not related to the work injury and that she was able to return to work.

Pothitakis Law Firm assisted V.S. by sending her for an Independent Medical Examination as well as having her evaluated by a vocational expert. The Independent Medical Examination physician set forth his opinion that her ongoing complaints and limitations were related to the slip and fall on ice and that V.S. was significantly limited in terms of her ability to do certain jobs in the future.

The vocational expert hired by Pothitakis Law Firm evaluated V.S. with respect to how the injury affected her ability to work other jobs in her area. The vocational expert ultimately concluded that she would have a very difficult time finding regular work given her pain, discomfort, and limitations. The parties proceeded to a mediation in the hopes of resolving the case. Unfortunately, at mediation, the parties were $350,000 apart in terms of negotiations. The employer and Workers' Compensation insurance carrier felt that the Claimant could return to work and earn a substantial and significant income, despite the opinions of the vocational expert and the Independent Medical Examination physician.

Another sticking point at mediation was that V.S. was unwilling to give up her right to future medical care. Having failed at mediation, Pothitakis Law Firm diligently began preparation for hearing on the case which was to take place within a couple of weeks.

Shortly before hearing, the Workers' Compensation insurance carrier, through its attorney, contacted Pothitakis Law Firm and indicated they wanted to have additional discussions concerning settlement. Over the course of a couple of days, emails and phone calls resulted in a successful settlement of the case for a significant sum. As part of the settlement, Pothitakis Law Firm was able to secure an agreement from the Workers' Compensation insurance carrier that the insurance carrier would continue paying medical expenses related to the injury.

Under the Iowa Workers' Compensation laws, there are various ways to settle a case. The case can be settled with medical care open or medical care closed. The case can be settled where the benefits are paid weekly or paid in a lump sum. Pothitakis Law Firm evaluates all options in terms of settling a case or going to hearing to ensure that the maximum recovery can be obtained and to make sure the maximum protection for an injured employee’s future medical issues is obtained.   

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