K.M. sought assistance from Pothitakis Law Firm after sustaining an ankle injury in 2006. K.M. sustained the injury while working for a large nationwide retailer in this area. As a result of the injury, she underwent surgery, physical therapy, and injections in her ankle.The primary issue in the case was whether the injury was only to the Claimant’s ankle or whether it resulted in the condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. If the condition were found to be found only an injury to the ankle, the Claimant’s entitlement to benefits under the Workers’ Compensation system would have been approximately $6,000. The Defendants actually paid the $6,000 and told the Claimant that was all they would be paying for the injury. After contacting Pothitakis Law Firm, an inquiry was made as to whether the injury was simply a fracture of the bones or whether the injury turned in to a nerve/pain syndrome injury in which the Claimant developed Reflex Sympathy Dystrophy or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.Conferences with the Claimant’s treating physicians elicited opinions that supported a claim beyond simply a fractured ankle. Pothitakis Law Firm scheduled an independent medical examination to obtain additional information concerning the Claimant’s Iowa work injury. Pothitakis Law Firm was successful in obtaining opinions supportive of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. The employer and insurance carrier through their attorney continued to argue that the condition was limited to the Claimant’s fractured ankle and she would be entitled to no more money.
In November of 2010, the Claimant’s case was presented to an Iowa Deputy Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. In January of 2011, a Decision was issued. That Decision found that the Claimant not only had sustained a fractured ankle, but had developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome entitling her to benefits well beyond $6,000. In fact, the award entitled the Claimant to over $40,000 in benefits. More importantly, the Decision required the Defendants to continue providing medical care for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. This condition will be lifelong for the Claimant and will result in significant and expensive medical care for the remainder of her life.
This case illustrates that there are many complexities with respect to work injuries. An ankle injury may not seem complex or susceptible to various valuations. This illustrates the importance of speaking with an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney for injuries that may appear minor.
Awarded: $40,000 plus open medical care