The Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lipkin & Apter were contacted by Z.N., a seventy (70) year old, forty-one (41) year veteran flight attendant for United Airlines who severely injured her ankle in a fall in 2010 while on a layover in Frankfurt, Germany. Z.N. was a permanent resident of the State of Washington at the time of the accident. She underwent emergency surgery to stabilize her ankle injury while in Germany and, shortly thereafter, flew to California where she underwent a second surgery.
United paid Z.N.’s Temporary Total Disability and medical benefits under Illinois law even though she never set foot in Illinois. This is because it is United Airlines’ corporate home, the place where Z.N. was hired. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, a person hired in Illinois, even if injured outside the state, is entitled to file a claim here. ZN was a “traveling employee”-someone who typically works at multiple locations rather than a single place, and hence, subject to varying conditions and hazards. United acknowledged this and paid for ZN’s medical and Workers’ Compensation wages during the several years following the accident that she could not work.
In all, Temporary Total Disability benefits were paid for five (5) years-through the middle of 2015. During that time, Z.N. underwent a total of three (3) ankle surgeries, the last of which was an arthroplasty, (a partial joint replacement) in order to help her reach maximum medical improvement and regain as much mobility as possible. She also underwent a 4th procedure- a plastic surgery procedure to debride (clean and drain) an infection that developed in the injured ankle. United paid 100% of all medical bills for Z.N.’s treatment.
Following an examination by an Independent Medical Examiner (ie. a doctor selected by the workers compensation insurance carrier) and a successful negotiation, we resolved Z.N.’s claim for 70% loss to Person as a Whole, or approximately $186,000.00.
While almost all Workers’ Compensation cases are resolved on the basis of the specific body part injured (here, a foot), if it can be proven that a specific injury results in a comprehensive, systemic injury, a claim can be made to injury to Person as a Whole, a far more valuable recovery. We successfully convinced United Airlines and their counsel that Z.N.’s injury was a loss to a Person as a Whole. The difference to her was approximately three (3) times the amount had her case been resolved on the basis of an ordinary foot injury.
At Lipkin & Apter, our goal is for our client to always receive full and fair compensation, as this is how true justice is achieved.