GWC attorney Harris L. Elliott recently obtained a $540,000.00 settlement for a union carpenter who suffered a career-ending back injury.
Debilitating Injury for Union Carpenter
GWC’s client was a 38-year-old union carpenter and a proud member of Local 13 for many years. In the summer of 2017, he was standing on a deck at a Chicago construction site, attempting to lift a 21-foot aluminum joist, when he suddenly felt shooting pain in his lower back.
After a subsequent MRI revealed a serious injury to his back, GWC’s client learned that he would need to undergo surgery to alleviate the pain and debilitating symptoms that he was experiencing as a result of the accident.
Strong Pushback from Insurance Carrier
Despite the diagnosis and recommendations of his treating orthopedic physician, the union carpenter received strong pushback from his employer’s insurance carrier, who decided to surveil him and schedule an independent medical evaluation with an orthopedic surgeon of its choosing.
After viewing video footage of him engaging in such innocuous activities as carrying light groceries into his home and opening the hood to his car, the insurance company’s Independent Medical Examiner (IME) opined that he DID NOT need surgery and could return to work full duty. Based on its IME doctor’s opinion, the insurance company refused to authorize the surgery and cut off the weekly disability benefits that GWC’s client depended on in order to provide for his family.
In the face of this opposition, GWC attorney Harris Elliott forced the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to schedule a deposition of its doctor so that he could be cross-examined on the record. As a result of Mr. Elliott’s questioning, the insurance company ultimately reversed its position, authorizing the badly-needed surgery and agreeing to pay the carpenter several months of Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits that it had previously withheld from him.
Large Settlement for Satisfied Client
Despite the client’s extensive medical treatment, his injury proved to be career-ending and prevented him from returning to work as a carpenter. Nevertheless, GWC continued to fight to get him the best possible results.
Mr. Elliott was able to get the insurance company to approve and pay for vocational rehabilitation so that the client could find a new career within his physical limitations. After a several-month period of additional retraining and searching for a new job, GWC’s client ultimately found and accepted a position as a hotel handyman.
“While my client has been a carpenter all his life and it was very hard for him to leave that line of work, he ended up finding a job that was very rewarding and allowed him to apply some of the skills he had learned in his previous trade,” said Mr. Elliott. “The settlement should also hopefully go a long way toward securing his and his family’s future.”
Helping Injured Workers Land on Solid Ground
While a loss of trade can be devastating, knowledgeable legal counsel can help an injured worker land on solid ground. If you find yourself dealing with a life-changing work injury, consider doing what so many others have done before you and reach out to the dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury law firms in Illinois. Our workers’ compensation attorneys have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation you need to get you and your family the justice you deserve.