HS, a 45 yr old material handler with Central Steel and Wire Company, contacted us after he had reinjured his back while driving a fork lift truck into a steel barrier. Two years earlier, HS had injured his back lifting steel bars. He underwent surgery for this injury and returned to work.
Following the more recent fork lift accident, HS was in constant pain. His doctors did not believe that his condition could be addressed with additional surgery, but believed that placement of a spinal cord stimulator was warranted. This was accomplished and HS returned to work within the permanent restrictions of a functional capacity evaluation (FCE).
Aggravation of Pre-existing Condition
Since radiologic findings after the second accident were similar to the first, this case proceeded as an aggravation of a preexisting condition. That is, we claimed that HS’s first accident resulted in a condition in his spine that was worsened by the second accident. We did not claim that the second accident caused the structural problems in his back. Under the law, an aggravation of a prior injury or a new injury are compensable to the same degree.
Employer Disputes Workers’ Compensation Claim
Central Steel disputed the value of this workers’ compensation claim.
An Independent Medical Exam (IME) was scheduled with Dr. Frank Philips of Midwest Orthopedics at Rush. Dr. Phillips agreed that the spinal cord stimulator proved effective in reducing HS’s pain to a functional level, and further agreed that his work should permanently be limited to the restrictions of the functional capacity evaluation.
After deliberations lasting several months, Lipkin & Apter were able to increase the settlement offer to $115,000. This amount represents 65% lost to Man as a Whole, a legal definition in Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation Law based on a percentage of loss to a certain body part.
Choose Experience for Satisfaction You Deserve
If you have been seriously injured in a job related accident, it is important to seek experienced professional counsel with an attorney who has the understanding of workers' compensation law to achieve the satisfaction you deserve. Contact the attorneys at Lipkin & Apter by phone, via our website chat or contact form to discuss whether you have a case. There is no charge for this initial consultation.