Neck & Back Injuries

Neck & Back Injuries

23-year-old woman was injured at work when she fell backwards, sustaining severe injuries to her head, neck and back.  The snow/weather conditions were severe enough that many businesses and schools were closed the day of the incident.  Petitioner’s employer, however, took a “two hour delay” and went ahead and worked that day.  Our client slipped and fell on the snow/ice while attempting to enter the facility, striking her upper back and “snapping” her neck backwards onto the pavement.  She was not fully conscious following the fall and doesn’t remember much from the emergency room and events that later occurred.  At the emergency room she was diagnosed with having a concussion and neck strain.  She was given medications and discharged. The following day she saw her family physician and an MRI scan showed minimal posterior disc bulging C3-4 through C6-7 and a “tiny” central disc herniation at the C6-7 level. Her doctor diagnosed her initially as having cervical tortocolis with severe muscle spasms which caused her head to bend forward. As the doctor continued treatment he found more complications and diagnosed her with cervical facet joint injuries, sterno- clavicular joint injuries, sternocelidomastoid spasms bilaterally, cervical spondylosis without myelopathy; thoracic spondylosis without myelopathy; SCM spasms; and sprain/strain of the neck. Over the course of our client’s treatment she continued to experience severe neck pain and was prescribed numerous medications. When the medications and physical therapy failed to alleviate her pain, she was later referred to have Botox injections. The Botox injections help “loosen” the muscles in her cervical and thoracic areas. The injections were also given to improve head posture and to reduce the intensity and frequency of her neck pain. Our client was eventually terminated from her job due to her medical restrictions. She still exhibits signs of post traumatic cervical dystonia including muscle spasms and tightness; pulling of her neck; painful head turning, neck pain and is still continuing treatment. She continues with Botox injections 2-3 times yearly for some relief even though they cause her complications. After about three weeks following the injections, her range of motion increases to the point where she can more comfortably drive a car. This case was disputed by the employer from the beginning. Petitioner unfortunately was employed at the time in an entry level, nominal earnings position. The case settled on the eve of trial for just under 62% permanent loss of body as a whole, or $90,000.00, for compensation for her permanent partial disability and some of her future medical needs. She now has full and steady employment at a different employer with much greater earnings and benefits.

53 year old male was injured in two work-related incidents, one while stepping on the bottom step of his truck in inclement weather, catching his left shoulder against the step and jamming his left shoulder and neck, and landing on his buttocks and injuring his lower back. The other work injury occurred when he was un-tarping a trailer in the course of work, and the handle kicked back and dropped down, injuring his neck. The doctor’s notes indicated that he had a large bruise under the left arm and limited ROM to his left shoulder.  Upon further examination, his shoulder ROM was good but problems developed with his neck, with flexion and extension painful, especially on the superior portion.  He was also minimally tender in the AC joint where he jammed his shoulder upward.  His lumbosacral spine was also painful with flexion and extension, and was mainly tender in the buttocks on the left over the sciatic nerve.  X-rays were taken and showed no evidence of fracture or dislocation.  Petitioner was placed on light duty in a sedentary office position to let his back and shoulder rest.  The doctor kept him on Flexeril, a muscle relaxant, and on restricted duty at work. Lumbar MRI spine without contrast findings showed L2/3 stenosis and degenerative disc disease with over 3mm of retrolisthesis.  It was indicated that this was likely the source of his pain from instability at the L2/3 level. His doctor performed a left L3/4 interlaminar epidural steroid injection with fluroscopy and contrast.   X-rays of the lumbar spine were also taken at this time which showed retrolisthesis of over 3mm on extension views at L4/5. He had an epidural injection a couple days later which gave him no relief. Despite physical therapy, spine injections and other supportive treatments, the petitioner continued to complain of back and extremity pain. He continued to have left hip pain and burning, taking Hydrocodone with limited relief. He continued on restricted work duty with limited lifting of 5 lbs, limited bending/twisting, limited driving and limited squatting.  He underwent an anterior lumbar fusion at L2/3 with cage placement and interbody fusion and a left L4/5 hemilaminectomy and diskectomy. He states that his pain has moderated after the surgery. On his neck injury, the doctor identified significant pain with range of neck motion.  The client indicated that the incident gave him shocks from his neck into both lower extremities as well.  X-rays and a CT scan showed the top screw of his anterior cervical plate had pulled back and was compressing the esophagus, and causing cord compression.  The doctor indicated that the findings correlate with the mechanism of injury.  He indicated with the recent trauma, the screw easily pulled out.  He doctor advised removal of the plate and screws and replacement with a cage at each level with bone graft and a plate at C3/4 and C4/5.  Surgery was performed on 1/12/16.  The doctor indicated that the failed hardware compressing the esophagus put him at risk of infection and a PICC line was inserted for antibiotics.  The patient also underwent physical therapy and was continued on pain medications.  He underwent additional physical therapy for strengthening.  X-rays were taken five months post op which revealed stable position of the plate and hardware and a robust fusion. He was given lifting restrictions from the doctor and had prior lifting restrictions with regard to his back.  The patient continued with therapy.  The doctor released him from care on September 22, 2016 at maximum medical improvement to be followed up on an as needed basis.  Both of these cases settled for a total of $112,854.28 which represents permanency and TTD.  We were able to see that all charges were paid.

49 year old man was injured in an accident while performing his job truck driving/delivering parts to different locations.  While en route at night, he encountered four large bulls occupying the highway directly in front of him, colliding with them while traveling 55 miles per hour.  His left shoulder impacted the driver’s side window, and the crash also caused neck and back injuries.  His initial diagnosis was acute cervical strain and whiplash, a partial thickness tear of the left rotator cuff, as well as a central disc herniation and spondylosis at the C6-7 level.  An MRI confirmed a disc herniation at the C6-7 level.  A one-time selective nerve root sleeve injection at C7 on the left did not improve his injuries.  On further evaluation, the Dr. noted a positive straight leg raising sign at about 85 degrees on the left and a positive Valsalva test on the left.  A lumbar MRI showed degenerative disc disease with disc herniation at the L4-L5 level and a diffuse disc bulge at the L5-S1 level along with post left laminectomy changes at the L5-S1 level.  At the request of the employer, this worker was evaluated by another doctor who also diagnosed a herniated disc at C6-7 level left shoulder tendiopathy and lumbosacral strain.  His pain continued to worsen even with another injection and prescribed pain medications.  A new cervical MRI was recommended and thereafter an anterior cervical discectomy vertebrectomy and fusion at the C6-7 level with insertion of a synthetic spacer were performed.  Work restrictions were placed with no repetitive bending, lifting, twisting or awkward positioning and no lifting over 50 pounds.  X-rays post-op showed a healing fusion at C6-7.  Flexeril and Percocet were prescribed for pain control, and he was released to return to sedentary work.  Limited range of motion was noted on his shoulder and back.  He is still limited in his activities due to the incident.  Both a worker’s compensation as well as a third party personal injury suit were initiated with the workers’ compensation claim in Illinois and the civil action in Missouri.  There was an initial offer of only $15,000.00 to settle the civil case.  There was ultimately a worker’s compensation lien of $163,978.33, but due to our firm’s efforts we were able to substantially reduce the lien amount to $70,000.00 for payment in full.  The worker’s compensation matter settled for disability of $87,111.83 and the personal injury case settled for $220,000.00 after a formal, independent mediation on the eve of trial.

55 year old man was injured in a work related injury while in a lift bucket on a truck, when the door of the bucket swung open due to a broken latch, resulting in his falling approximately 25+ feet onto the rear of his truck and striking the ground.  He sustained catastrophic injuries including multiple (3rd through 8th) right rib fractures; right pneumothorax; left severely comminuted and complex femur fracture with overriding fracture fragments; left medial tibial eminence avulsion fracture; C4-5 trans process fracture; T11 burst fracture; right displaced clavicle fracture; pulmonary contusions and scalp laceration.  Plaintiff spent 9 days in the hospital receiving treatment for his injuries and in recovery.  He underwent four surgeries related to his femur and tibial fractures.  His thoracic and cervical fractures were treated with Miami J and TLSO bracing respectively.  He was prescribed Colace, Percocet, Flexeril, Motoprolol and Lovenox.  He was thereafter placed on permanent restrictions preventing him from working his regular job duties.  He requires ongoing injections to his knee as pain management.  This workers’ compensation case settled for $375,000.00 through our firm’s efforts.

43 year old male was injured in the course of work when he stepped into an unmarked concrete hole in a parking lot and tried to break his fall.  If this large concrete hole had been addressed and taken care of, plaintiff would not have been injured.  He injured his back due to this incident.  A diskectomy and a hemilaminotomy procedure were performed at a local hospital.  Our client still suffers pain in his lower back due to the incident.  Following an FCE, he was placed on light to medium duty work.  He initiated a self-directed job search to find work within his restrictions.  This workers’ compensation case settled for $200,000.00.

58 year old man injured his lower back while lifting a heavy box at work.  His initial diagnosis was from a physician’s assistant who diagnosed a lumbar strain and sciatica, administered a Kenalog dose and prescribed a Medrol dose Pak.  His doctor later diagnosed a lumbar radiculopathy.  Soon after that he saw an orthopedic surgeon and then underwent a L4-5 lumbar laminectomy and discectomy.  The post-operative diagnosis was a disk herniation at right L4-5 with L5-S1 radiculopathy.  Our client still is uncomfortable while standing, sitting and when lying down and is limited in his ability to play active sports with his daughter.  This case settled for $25,300.00 representing 20% of the body referable to the low back at his modest rate.

61 year old man was injured at work while delivering building materials.  He and a coworker were carrying a load of product when it shifted in their hands and crashed down on his head, severely injuring his neck and left shoulder.  He was first only treated conservatively but then had an MRI and was ordered off work two days later.  Surgery was scheduled and performed one month later and his doctor’s operative report indicated profound compression of the spinal cord, flattening of the spinal cord and profound stenosis from C4 to C7.  He performed a posterior cervical laminectomy, C4 to C7, decompression of the spinal canal and neural foramen, posterior cervical fusion and posterior instrumentation C4 to C7 utilizing Vertex lateral mass screws and rods.  He returned for a post-op appointment complaining of weakness and instability and later he was experiencing incontinence of urine on occasion.  Upon physical examination, it was noted that he could stand and walk, but that his gait was slow and deliberate.  An MRI was ordered and revealed an abnormality within the cord at C4-C5 consistent with myelomalacia but the doctor indicated it might be up to two years until he reaches MMI.  Five months later he presented to his doctor for an independent medical examination in which his doctor opined that our client suffered from an adhesive capsulitis/frozen left shoulder and that he would benefit from a closed manipulation of the left shoulder followed by physical therapy.  Three months later, a shoulder manipulation as well as glenhumeral and subacromial corticosteroid injections was performed.  After that failed to relieve pain, his doctor performed another MRI which then showed a full-thickness tear of the rotator cuff with evidence of atrophy of the supraspinatus.  Surgery was performed shortly thereafter.  Our client can no longer return to his job of driving vehicles commercially and because of the medications he is taking, he poses a liability risk to any future employer.  He cannot do any of the same tasks at home that he used to do such as working on cars and chores around the house.  This case settled for $153,354.00, representing $105,000.00 for permanent and total disability, $40,000.00 for medical not covered by Medicare, and $8,354.00 for Medicare Set Aside seed money.  His employer agreed to purchase an annuity to pay our client monthly benefits of $1,800.00 for life with a 20 year guarantee, another annuity that pays direct to our client a lump sum of $32,077.96, another annuity that pays our client annual benefits of $3,987.00 for life to fund the MSA and another annuity which pays $2,000 annually for life for medical not covered by Medicare.

70 year old man was seriously injured when a young girl lost control of her vehicle and headed directly into the path of the tractor-trailer he was operating for his employer.  Trying to avoid a collision, he swerved, making his truck “jackknife”, and thereby colliding with the girl’s car and striking a bridge.  The girl driver was killed and our client suffered significant injuries to his left shoulder, arm, back and spine.  When first seeing a doctor, he was complaining of left hand and low back pain.  Upon physical examination, he had tenderness to range of motion and palpation to his low back and also his left fourth and fifth metacarpals.  He was advised to “buddy tape” his fingers together to get the pain and swelling to subside after his doctor opined that there was no fracture.  He had an MRI of his left shoulder which showed an AC joint sprain with fluid collecting in the joint.  A full thickness tear of the anterior 50% of the supraspinatus tendon was noted as well as a torn rotator cuff.  He then underwent a left shoulder arthroscopy with a biceps tenotomy (to treat the partial tear in his bicep) and a mini-open rotator cuff repair.  Following that procedure he had another MRI of his back which showed a sac effacement, canal stenosis and a central disc protrusion at L3-L4.  Our client then was terminated from his position at work because of his inability to operate a tractor-trailer based on his doctor’s restrictions.  Surgery on his back was performed by his doctor consisting of an anterior interbody fusion, L3-4 via the lateral approach; instrumented anterior interbody fusion, L3-4 with biomechanical intervertebral body PEEK cage device; interpretation of intraoperative x-rays and intraoperative neuromonitoring.  Our client was encouraged to seek counseling due to the fact that there was a fatality to the young woman.  The doctor diagnosed him with adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood.  He later returned to our office because of increased anxiety and depression.  He was experiencing compulsive behaviors including driving past the scene of the accident and visiting the deceased girl’s grave on a regular basis, and a short time after that was thinking about suicide.  He now has a treatment plan to see his doctor on a monthly basis.  The physical and emotional effects have been, and will continue to be, taxing on our client throughout the remainder of his lifetime.  This case settled for $47,000.00 representing approximately 25% loss of person as a whole.  In addition to the settlement, the respondent agreed to fund a Medicare Set Aside Account based upon estimated future medical treatment and prescription medication expenses of $23,944.00.

67 year old man injured his back while working as an emergency responder.  He was performing his duties on an injured person when he felt a sharp excruciating pain in his lower back.  He was prescribed medicine and told to rest at the ER.  A few days later he awakened in the middle of the night, tried to walk and his legs gave out.  He underwent a CT scan and an MRI revealed a massive L3 herniation with compression of his thecal sac.  He underwent physical therapy and was dedicated to his recovery, but his employer could not accommodate his doctor imposed 50 pound lifting restriction, and so he did not return to work.  This case settled for $78,750.90 representing 40% loss of body as a whole.  All medical expenses and time off work were paid in addition.  This result was achieved by fully presenting this worker’s age, vocational history and permanent restrictions so that a compromised recovery could now be secured for this senior worker with ­­­­­­­­consideration for his vocational rehab rights, wage differential option and risk of obtaining an odd lot permanent total.

33 year old man injured his neck and other parts of his upper extremity while attempting to pull on a stack of pallets when two got stuck together, causing them to snag and jerk his body while he was at work.  His doctor performed a removal of posterior ligamentus osteophytic structures at C5-6; an anterior cervical instrumentation at C5-6; and placement of machined structural allograft at C5-6.  He was ordered that he participate in physical therapy and work conditioning for a total of 6 weeks and he was placed at a different job that was not as physically demanding as his prior position.  There is a concern that with the hardware that was placed in him during the surgery that he may later develop adjacent segment disease, placing more and greater stress on the levels above and below the surgical site.  He was very young when he sustained this serious injury.  His case settled for $42,862.50, representing 25% loss to his body as a whole.

56 year old male suffered pelvic, urethral, and psychological injuries after falling about 3-4 feet from metal scaffolding onto a concrete floor. He was first sent to the hospital with severe right hip, back and pelvic pain, bleeding from his urethra and inability to urinate. An attempt was then made for placement of a Foley catheter but after urinary retention, a flexible cystoscopy was performed. Our client was examined by an orthopaedic trauma surgeon who recommended an operative fixation on a displaced, anterior column, posterior, hemitransverse acetabular fracture. The fixation required multiple screws with a plate. Later, a cystoscopy and cystogram were performed under anesthesia to replace the Foley catheter, given the urethral trauma difficulties that developed. The post operative diagnosis was severe pelvic trauma with pelvic fractures, urethral trauma and partial urethral disruption. Vicoden and Macroclantin were prescribed after surgery. At a check up, our client complained of having erectile dysfunction problems since the trauma and his doctor opined that his problems were most likely related to the extensive trauma. Our client had been attending physical therapy and work hardening for at least two months but once returning to work, he had permanent restrictions of no lifting over 50 pounds, no lifting over 12’ boards and no lifting over 4 boards at a time. He continues to have hip pain and pain in his urethra area daily and his inability to maintain an erection has been mentally and physically disturbing and has negatively affected his relationship with his wife. This case settled for $50,000.00 representing approximately 39.5% loss of use to the person as a whole including $898.88 for medically-related mileage and $18,843.64 in unpaid medical charges.

49 year old man sustained work injury as he attempted to remove a dye plate weighing approximately 50 pounds. He immediately experienced increasingly sharp pain throughout his lumbar spine. He was sent to the hospital and was prescribed pain medications, later following up and treating with physical therapy, a series of injections, diagnostic treatments and medications. A second doctor was consulted about surgery, but the doctor opined that surgery wasn’t necessary. This case was disputed regarding the causation of the injury, but our firm negotiated a compromised resolution given the case risks and in order to limit litigation costs and bring the matter to an amicable resolution as the client desired. The case was settled for $41,990.00.

70 year old female injures her back as she was reaching awkwardly, hurriedly across in her work car for briefcase/ sales materials. She sustained a left L1-2 disc herniation and probable L2 radiculopathy. After conservative treatment failed, a doctor opined that a large disc herniation at L1-L2 was causing her back pain and the radiating pain into her groin. A fusion surgery was performed and she was released to work with light-duty restrictions and prescribed Oxycontin and Percocet. She was back and forth to the doctor with back pain and was prescribed sleep medications including Ambien, Norco and Robaxin and thereafter released to work full-duty with no restrictions. She later reported more back pain and occupational therapy was ordered. Our client continues to have frequent back pain and housework is troublesome for her. She had expressed a number of times to her employer that she wanted to return to work, but no type of job was ever offered to her. After 84.71 weeks out of work, her position was no longer available and her separation from the company became effective. This case was settled for $62,139.91 representing 30% loss of body as a whole and medically related mileage, plus a Medicare set aside amount for her future back medical treatment needs. She had marked pre-existing, persistent back degeneration but had worked steadily until her injury date.

53 year-old male sustains 5 injuries at his place of employment between 2005-2012. His first was a back injury from tripping and falling over a pallet jack’s steel forks. The petitioner was working on top of a milk tanker in his second incident when a co-worker started moving the truck, causing him to slam into the open lid, injuring his neck, back and shoulder. His 2009 work injury was a blow to the head, causing a concussion, neck trauma and an eye injury. In 2010 he injured his head, neck and upper back as he was running up a sloped, raised, inclined platform where he hit his head. In his last incident he and another employee were working on a valve and as he twisted a wrench, pressurized chemical water shot out at him. As he tried to escape the hazardous liquid by running backwards, he slammed his back into a clamp that was protruding behind him. For all of the injuries our client sustained, he underwent physical therapy and a home exercise regimen. The permanent partial disability component of his cases settled for $16,460.70, representing 6% permanent partial disability for the body as a whole, and he received as well nearly $14,000.00 in payment of unpaid medical expenses, or total paid compensation of $30,460.70 as well as nearly $12,000.00 in already paid medical charges to be protected from reimbursement by petitioner.

67 year-old male injured his back and right leg at work by pushing a 2,000-2,600 pound container off of a truck. He was beyond retirement age, but still worked part-time for moderate weekly earnings of $244.46. He was first treated with medication, physical therapy and an epidural steroid injection, but all these conservative treatment measures failed. His doctor then performed a right L2-L3, L3-4, L4-5 hemilaminectomy and decompression. He also noted that at the L3-4 level there was an inadvertent durotomy at the dorsal part of the thecal sac which required root reduction. Our client thereafter participated in six weeks of physical therapy. He still has considerable, daily back pain, does not sleep well and suffers from daily fatigue. He limits his sitting and standing and is restricted with stair climbing, twisting, and bending. He is never pain-free and sometimes goes numb in both legs after sitting too long. The petitioner was off work for 71 4/7 weeks and received $220 weekly in temporary total disability benefits. Our firm secured a $66,000 settlement representing 60% permanent partial disability for his body, with open future medical needs or a Medicare approved set aside. This was all achieved from an employer who disputed all disability caused by this work event, defending its position on the basis that all of the petitioner’s problems were pre-existing. It initially sought in compromise to only pay just about one-half of the ultimate disability settlement reached.

42 year-old gentleman injured his neck and back while lifting a 150 pound post in the course of his employment. Initially, his doctor prescribed pain medication and advised him to refrain from heavy lifting. Thereafter, our client reinjured his back by lifting more 150 pound posts. An MRI was taken and his doctor diagnosed central disc bulges at C5-6, T6-7, T8-9, L4-5 and L5-S1. His doctor prescribed additional pain medication and physical therapy. A second doctor concurred with the above diagnoses and also opined that our client had a small left disc protrusion at the T6-7 space. Thereafter, he was ordered to discontinue physical therapy, and multiple doctors opined that our client’s back injuries were not operable. Our client remained off work for 174 3/7 weeks for his treatment, during which time he was paid $493.33 weekly in temporary total disability benefits. His employer disputed the nature and extent of his disability. After a number of demands and settlement offers, our firm settled his case for $200,000.00, representing 69.25% permanent partial disability of his body and $58,601.56 in Medicare Set-Aside. – GM.

38 year-old female sustained injuries to her back, buttocks and legs when she caught a falling resident in the course of her employment at a nursing home facility. Initially she sought treatment with a physical therapist. The therapist implemented a home therapy program and prescribed pain medication and anti-inflammatories. Unfortunately, this conservative treatment did not alleviate her back pain. A doctor examined her and diagnosed sacroiliac pain. She was referred to a pain management physician who recommended and administered a sacroiliac joint injection but again, her pain did not subside. An MRI was taken and her doctor diagnosed a left foraminal disc extrusion pinching the exiting left L3 nerve root and disc extrusions at the L4-5 and L5-S1 disc spaces. She continued conservative treatment consisting of physical therapy and medication. Her treatment was terminated after an independent medical examination by a physician hired by her employer. Throughout her treatment our client continued to work with light duty work restrictions. Her employer fully disputed the nature and extent of her disability, whether her injuries were causally related to her work incident and future medical benefits. We secured a $20,625.00 settlement for our client, which represented 12.5% permanent partial disability of her body. – PB.

45 year-old woman sustained repetitive traumas to her neck while working as a split case picker at a distribution center. Her doctor took an MRI of her neck and diagnosed herniated discs at the C2-3, C3-4, C4-5 and C5-6 disc spaces as well as spinal stenosis. Her doctor recommended and performed two cervical fusion surgeries at her C4-5 and C5-6 disc spaces. Following her surgeries, she underwent physical therapy with extensive use of a neck stimulator and was prescribed pain medication. While off work our client received short-term disability benefits and limited temporary total disability benefits. Her employer disputed the nature and extent of her disability, past and future medical benefits and past and future temporary total disability benefits. We settled her case for $64,241.38, representing 27.5% permanent partial disability of her body, past medical benefits and unpaid temporary total disability benefits. – CD.

27 year-old male injured his back while bending over cleaning tanks in the course of his employment as an industrial cleaner. His doctor diagnosed a L4-5 posterior central prolapse disc herniation with impingement and a L5-S1 posterior left lateral extruded disc herniation with possible impingement. Despite conservative treatment consisting of medications, steroid injections and physical therapy sessions, our client’s condition only worsened. His doctor recommended and performed a L5-S1 laminectomy and discectomy. After his surgery our client completed another series of physical therapy sessions while occasionally taking pain medication. Our client remained off work for the duration, 27 1/7 weeks, of his treatment and was eventually released to work without restrictions. His employer fully disputed the nature and extent of his back injury, past temporary total disability benefits and past medical expenses. Our firm secured $42,481.58, representing approximately 25% permanent partial disability of his body and unpaid temporary total disability benefits. – DB.

46 year-old man injured his back while working for the highway department in a trench which caved in upon him while in the process of removing a culvert. His injuries were extensive, requiring him to be off work for a total of 106 2/7 weeks. At first he underwent conservative medical treatment by having his treating physician perform therapy on his back, but his doctor eventually declared him permanently disabled. His employer fully disputed this case by offering no compensation, denying the accident ever happened and refuting the severity and extent of our client’s injuries. Our firm settled the case just before trial for $140,000.00, representing $30,000.00 for disputed past temporary total disability, $5,000.00 for vocational rehabilitation, $14,000.00 for disputed future medical benefits, and the balance for partial permanent disability. – TS.

78 year-old man sustained injuries to his back during the course of his employment as a truck driver when he fell getting out of his truck. X-rays revealed an acute compression fracture involving the L1 vertebral segment and a myofascial strain of his left sacroiliac joint. An MRI showed additional posterior diffuse disc bulges at L1-2, L4-5 and T12-L1 with hypertrophic and degenerative changes at each of these spaces. His physician diagnosed mild circumferential spinal stenosis and bilateral neural foramina stenosis. The doctor prescribed steroid injections for pain and a back brace, all the while keeping this worker off work. His employer strongly disputed whether our client was injured at work. Our firm settled this case for $35,000.00 representing permanent partial disability for person of a whole at his modest rate. – GE.

45 year-old man suffered injuries to his back, right leg, right foot and left shoulder due to a motor vehicle accident while transporting materials during the course of his employment. A physician diagnosed him with disc bulges at L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1, chronic back pain syndrome, lumbar spondylosis, aggravation of his degenerative disc disease with lumbar radiculopathy, sprains and contusions to his right leg and foot and a strained left shoulder. His injuries caused him to miss work for 26 weeks. His employer contested the severity of his injuries and whether he was due any compensation. Our firm settled the case for $16,977.50, which accounted for a 10% loss of his person as a whole, medical expenses and vocational rehabilitation. – BA.

48 year-old woman sustained injuries to her left and right hands, left thumb, left elbow, and her neck during the course of her employment as a case picker. Her doctor diagnosed her with bilateral carpel tunnel syndrome and a disk herniation at C4-5. Thereafter, she underwent a left thumb trapeziectomy, a left ulnar nerve transposition, and a neck fusion at C4-5. Her employer challenged the nature and extent of her permanent partial disability and the reasonableness and necessity of her medical expenses. Our firm obtained a settlement for $158,239.02 representing 30% loss of use of her body as a whole, 20% loss of use of her right hand, 17.5% loss of use of her left hand, 25% loss of use of her left arm, and 65% loss of use of her left thumb. – SR.

35 year-old male mechanic for a paving company sustained severe back injuries using two wrenches to remove a gear box. The mechanic felt immediate pain in his neck and left shoulder and a pulling sensation in his neck. Early complaints centered on significant neck pain, limited range of motion of the cervical spine and weakness in his left arm. Following unsuccessful conservative care, anterior cervical discectomy at C4-5 was performed using a Zephyr plating system and screws. Client attended work hardening and thereafter returned to full time work, though continuing to have neck and left arm stiffening and weakness. Heavy lifting, attempting strenuous home chores and yard work continued to cause pain and numbness in his neck and arm. Right hand and wrist problems persisted ultimately leading to a carpal tunnel release. The parties reached a compromised settlement in the sum of $95,884.79, representing 27.5% permanent partial disability of his body and 20% permanent partial disability of his right hand, plus the employer paid all medical bills related to both injuries.

59 year-old male truck driver was injured while unloading his truck, was diagnosed with a disc herniation and coccydynia. After conservative treatments failed, i.e. time off work, medications and injections, our client’s doctor recommended surgery. The client underwent an anterior discectomy, interbody fusion at L4/5 and L5/S1, and lumbar plating from L4 to S1. Our client still complained of low back pain with radiation down his left thigh. After finishing physical therapy and a general conditioning program, he continued to have pain after extended periods of sitting or standing. The employer disputed the claim and disputed the reasonableness, necessity and relatedness of any and all of the trucker’s bills, and his major medical insurance paid his bills. Denial was based on the fact that when he appeared at the emergency room, in order to insure medical coverage, he stated he had been working on his deck/porch at home. A settlement was reached on this case for $85,000.00 plus a Medicare Set Aside in the amount of $17,596.00. After negotiations with both the employer’s attorney and the medical providers, we were able put $67,608.63 total in the client’s pocket even after medical bill reductions.

69 year-old male worker injured his back while working as an independent contractor for a trucking company. During the course of his employment when he was loading “padding blankets”, he fell, landing hard and forcefully on his buttocks and jarring his neck and back. He thereafter had trouble sitting, sleeping, etc. His doctor immediately diagnosed him with an old compression fracture and myofascial strain of his left sacroiliac joint and administered an epidural injection. After many visits to several doctors, MRIs, and a bone scan, it became apparent that our client suffered an acute compression fracture of his L1 vertebral segment, posterior diffuse mild disc bulges L1-2 through L4-5, minimal T12-L1 hypertrophic and degenerative changes in his posterior elements, and mild circumferential spinal stenosis at L4-5 as well as moderate bilateral neural foraminal stenosis at L3-4 and L4-5. The company continued its denial of responsibility for his fall or for his well being based on the assertion that he was not an employee. Our client was devastated when his doctor told him he “was just not able to function any longer” and needed to complete disability paperwork. He felt like the accident ruined his life. He sold his truck because he could no longer drive it. His relationship with his wife was adversely affected and he became severely limited in what he could do. Even though the company continued its denial of the accident, average weekly wage and TTD benefits, this case was settled for $35,000.00, due largely to the defendant’s viable defense of lack of employer/employee relationship required for workers to be successful in such cases.

34 year-old female prison guard was seriously injured when she tripped and fell on the walkway while going to work. She sustained injuries to her low back, left wrist, left shoulder, left hip, and left knee. The injuries included a left hip labral tear, low back strain and right knee pain which was caused from her subsequent greater reliance on her right leg when walking. Her doctor told her there was no assurance that any surgical procedure would improve her condition and she declined surgery. The client’s doctor eventually diagnosed her as permanently and totally disabled from work. Through the assistance of our office the client received a settlement of $149,999.00 which represented 15% permanent partial disability of her left leg, 45% permanent partial disability of her body, 5% permanent partial disability of her left arm, and 3% permanent partial disability of her left hand.

50 year-old male injured his back while pulling on a semi-truck trailer pin and then re-injured his back on a different date while performing the same activity. Doctors noted that he had a smaller spinal canal than average, so these injuries would only worsen. The doctors proceeded with surgery where a laminotomy and discectomy at L4-L5 were performed. Plaintiff had to take off work for 25 weeks, and still performs everyday activities with difficulty. Because of the extent of the subsequent back injuries, a settlement was negotiated for $20,000.00.

42 year-old male sustained injuries to his neck and back while lifting a septic tank cover in the rain when he slipped and fell in the course of his employment. An anterior cervical discectomy with an interbody fusion at C4-5 and C5-6 was performed with anterior cervical vector T-plating. Postoperative diagnosis was a large central disc herniation at C4-5 with cervical stenosis and spondylosis at C5-6. We settled his case for $50,072.56.

40 year-old man developed severe back pain after lifting and driving. He was working as a delivery person and was lifting a heavy bag when he felt pain in his back. Within a few days the pain was radiating down into his buttocks, hip and left leg. He sought treatment for his injuries. He then switched jobs to driving only. The long periods of driving, however, caused the symptoms to increase. He required future medical follow-up care and was reimbursed for his previous medical costs and was given monies for future medical care. We settled his case for $39,494,00, which was two times more than his initial demand. – DD.

27 year-old male aggravated his lower back injuries while driving a truck. The petitioner regularly had to drive his truck on rough terrain which resulted in lots of bouncing on a poorly constructed seat which the supervisor agreed was a bad seat. The petitioner underwent a cortisone injection and physical therapy. The employer disputed the case, and zero monies were offered up until time of trial. Ultimately, we secured a $15,000.00 un-compromised settlement, which represented 9% permanent partial disability to his body. – RZ.

37 year-old factory worker was injured when lifting at work. She underwent four back surgeries despite having pre-existing back injuries and was restricted to sedentary work. The case was contested and involved improper communications between the employer and the petitioner’s main treating physician. These violations were brought to the attention of the employer, its attorney and the Commission. We obtained a settlement for $159,000.00 with a stipulation of voluntary termination of employment. – DB.

47 year-old warehouse manager lifted televisions and other appliances for many years resulting in injuries to her spine. Petitioner required extensive medical care and underwent surgeries, injections, and the implantation of spinal cord stimulation and a spinal morphine infusion pump. She was disabled from any gainful employment. We secured a settlement for $185,000.00 for her permanent partial disability with protection of all medical liens that totaled in excess of $400,000. – KB.

77 year-old truck driver was injured during the course of his work. He was diagnosed with an acute compression fracture of the L1 vertebral segment of his spine with posterior diffuse disc bulges, hypertrophic and degenerative changes in the posterior elements and all which produced mild circumferential spinal stenosis. Our client underwent several epidural injections and was prescribed a back brace for support, but was not a surgical candidate. As a result, his treatment options were limited and he was relegated to having back pain limiting his daily life activities. This case was defended on the basis that petitioner was not an employee at the time he was injured and that his case may not have been timely filed. Petitioner’s delay in seeing us nearly cost the entire case, but arguments were formulated and supported to reach a compromised settlement on the eve of trial. Our firm was able to secure a settlement of $35,000.00 representing a payment rate of $66.92 weekly for the rest of his expected life together with some medical expenses. – GE .

45 year-old man was injured during the course of work as a coal miner. A rock fell and injured his head, neck, back, bilateral arms, hands, and other body parts. He was knocked unconscious and was later discovered by a co-worker. The initial surgery included titanium plate instrumentation, fusion grafting at the C5, C6, and C7 levels with plates, micro anterior cervical disc excision with removal of the posterior longitudinal ligament and osteophytes from the spinal cord, and nerve decompression. He underwent a second surgery due to continued pain and sensitivity in both of his arms, consisting of a cervical laminectomy and the placement of a spinal drain. Our firm settled his case for $101,458.00 representing 40% permanent partial disability of his body and 20% permanent partial disability of the his left arm. – DR.

51 year-old man was injured after years of repetitive bending and stacking that caused damage to his lumber spine. The work injuries aggravated his low back degenerative disc disease requiring him to undergo chiropractic treatments. The employer’s argued that all our client’s injuries were pre-existing. Nevertheless, we secured a $23,200.00 settlement representing   12.5% permanent partial disability of his body, temporary total disability benefits, and unpaid medical expenses. – GAE.

52 year-old woman sustained injuries to her cervical spine and left arm after she tripped over a pallet during the course of work. Due to the extent of her discomfort, she underwent a cervical fusion surgery on her spine for her diagnosis of neck sprain and strain. A second surgery consisting of plate insertion in her cervical spine was performed to repair the nonunion from the first cervical insertion fusion. Her cases were contested throughout on the basis that her injuries were unrelated to work incidents and that her surgeries were unnecessary. Our firm was able to settle her case for $35,561.00, representing 20% permanent partial disability of her body as given a lack of the medical support to link up the clients injuries to work. – CG.

47 year-old woman was injured due to years of repetitive trauma as a case picker to her right and left hands, left thumb, left elbow, and neck. After seeing a physician, she was diagnosed as having bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, left cubital tunnel syndrome, left thumb nerve damage, and joint arthritis. She underwent an anterior cervical discectomy, interbody fusion and foraminotomies at C4-C5, central decompression and removal of a posterior osteophyte at C4, and interbody fusion at C4-C5 with an allograft bone spacer and Vectra-T plating. During her recovery from her neck procedure, our client underwent a left thumb trapeziectomy, left ulnar nerve transposition and was in need of a neck fusion. She was off work for a total of roughly 12 weeks and underwent formal therapies for her hands. Her case was settled for $158,239.02, representing 30% permanent partial disability of her body, 20% permanent partial disability of her right hand, 17.5% permanent partial disability of her left hand, 25% permanent partial disability of her left arm, 65% permanent partial disability of her left thumb, and medical benefits – SAR.

36 year-old woman sustained injuries while she was helping a patient during the course of her work. She injured her lower back, hips, and upper legs. She underwent three back surgeries, including a fusion, and was placed on permanent light duty work restrictions. Her employer’s insurance company initially offered her 37.5% of the body as a whole and disputed her medical costs and temporary total disability benefits. The case settled for $53,385.08 representing 45% permanent partial disability to her body together with other medical expenses. – DAS.

45 year-old man suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident to his back, right leg, right foot and left shoulder. Upon examination, he was diagnosed with chronic back pain, lumbar spondylosis and degenerative disc disease. He also sustained contusions, sprains and strains to multiple body parts including the right leg, right foot, left arm and left shoulder. The client healed nicely without surgery. The defense contended that all of the plaintiff’s injuries resulted from his pre-existing conditions and was not inclined to make an offer. In the end we settled his case for $16,977.50. – BLA.

49 year-old woman truck driver was injured while repairing her truck during the course of her work. She sustained injuries to her low back and immediately sought chiropractic treatment for her discomfort. An MRI of her lumbar spine revealed advanced discogenic spondylosis involving several vertebrae. Failing to improve after her chiropractic treatments, she was referred to a neurosurgical specialist who prescribed epidural steroid injections, physical therapy and termination of her chiropractic treatment. She later underwent a series of four surgeries including a lumbar radiculopathy correction, facet arthropathies and a following discogram of several vertebrae of the lumbar spine. Another medical provider recommended she remain on light duty and no lifting over ten (10) pounds. Further medical opinions recommended bilateral facet blocks, which she underwent but offered her no relief. A settlement was secured for $64,800.00 including liability for temporary total compensation, all medical expenses past and future resulting from the injury, 22.5% permanent partial disability of her body, vocational training and maintenance benefits during said vocational training. – LAF.

39 year-old man sustained injuries to his neck, arm and buttocks during the course of work while exiting a lift. An MRI was taken of his cervical spine and revealed a moderate posterior disc bulge at the C5-C6 level along with moderate central canal and mild right neural foramina stenosis. His doctor prescribed physical therapy and three epidural injections in his neck and finally diagnosed a herniated disc and cervical radiculopathy at the C6 nerve root. He underwent a C5-6 cervical discectomy with cervical disc prosthesis and was prescribed post-operative physical therapy. Due to his injuries, our client was off work for approximately 36 weeks. Our firm was able to secure a settlement for $32,750.00 representing 25% permanent partial disability of his body, medical expenses and unpaid temporary total disability payments. – CEC.

50 year-old man sustained injuries to his low back and left arm from repetitive traumas as a production worker at a distribution center. An MRI revealed an extruded C4-5 disc space with impingement and a herniated, displaced L4-5 disc space as well as rotator cuff tendinitis in his left shoulder. A second physician conducted MRIs, which showed multilevel degenerative change throughout his cervical spine with mild canal narrowing at the C4-5 level, mild degenerative disc disease at the C5-6 level, left shoulder infraspinatus tendinopathy without rotator cuff tear and subacromial-subdeltoid bursitis. Our client was diagnosed with a herniated nucleus pulposus at the C4-5 level. Our client underwent an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with an insertion of a spacer and anterior cervical plate. He was later placed on light duty and eventually returned to work. He was off work for approximately 23 weeks for his injuries. The defense disputed the nature and extent of our client’s injury and whether our client’s injuries warranted any compensation. Our firm secured a settlement for $50,000.00 representing 25% permanent partial disability to his body. – WG.

38 year old male sustains  injury to his neck during the course of work as a firefighter, having been employed as a firefighter for 7 years prior to the incident. While his neck injury did not require surgery, intensive physical therapy (23 visits) was necessary and he received 3 trigger point injections as well for his sprain/strain. Settlement negotiations began at $16,553.85.  Petitioner recovered medically but with neck residuals resulting in a 6.5% BAW, or $23,157.87. The case was disputed as to the nature and extent of disability and responsibility for treatment expenses.- Client RB



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