After more than 2 years of treatment and dealing with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim, a Framingham man received a $90,000 lump sum settlement. Attorney Pappas worked closely with the injured worker and help guide him every step of the way.
About the Work Accident and Injury
This worker was a 69-year-old man who was employed at a retail warehouse type store. He was a forklift operator and was responsible for re-stocking the large item products. One day in 2019 this gentleman was stocking some heavy product on the sales floor. He transported the goods with the forklift and placed them in the designated area. As he usually does, he had to manually pick up and move some of the product by hand. When he did this, he lost his grip and attempted to catch the product. While he made that sudden move, he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder. He knew right away it wasn’t good.
He immediately reported the injury to his supervisor on duty that day and went straight to the emergency room. These steps that this worker took after his accident was exactly what should be done in this type of situation. A lot of workers try to brush off the pain and never report it. Failure to report the injury right away can cause problems down the road in a workers’ compensation claim.
Overview of the Injury and Treatment
At the emergency department, the doctor had x-rays taken, which were negative for fractures. The worker was diagnosed with a shoulder strain and discharged. The ER doctor, however, referred the worker to an orthopedic surgeon, who specializes in shoulder injuries for an evaluation, due to a suspected rotator cuff tear.
When this worker was evaluated by the orthopedic doctor, an MRI of the right shoulder was ordered due to concerns about a rotator cuff tear. A subsequent MRI revealed a severe rotator cuff injury described as a “massive full-thickness supraspinatus, infraspinatus and superior subscapularis tendon tear with retraction.” Due to the results of the MRI, the injured worker underwent an arthroscopic repair surgery of his shoulder. Following the surgery, the employee attending physical therapy for quite a long time.
Once the worker completed physical therapy, the orthopedic surgeon determined that this worker had reached a maximum medical improvement, but has a permanent disability. The doctor found the worker to have loss of function in his shoulder due to significant loss of power, pain with repetitive activities and loss of terminal motion.
The Progress of the Workers’ Compensation Claim
Since the worker took all the right steps at the beginning, the insurer voluntarily paid temporary total disability benefits to the injured worker and covered all the medical costs of treatment, surgery and therapy.
Near the end of the worker’s treatment and therapy, the insurer arranged to have him examined by a doctor the insurer chose. This is known as an independent medical examination. The independent doctor concluded that no further surgery was needed, and that the worker could return to work but with certain restrictions. In other words, the insurance company’s doctor thought the worker was only partially disabled. Partial disability is, of course, less than total disability. Thus, the concern was that the insurer would attempt to reduce the worker’s benefits.
Despite the independent doctor’s opinions, Attorney Pappas filed a claim for permanent and total disability benefits based upon the treating surgeon’s opinion of a permanent injury as well as other factors, including the worker’s age, education and work experience. Following the conciliation in the workers’ compensation claim before the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents, Attorney Pappas was able to negotiate and secure a $90,000 lump sum settlement. This settlement represented approximately 5 years of future permanent and total disability benefits, which the worker happily accepted.
Shoulder injuries are very common in work-related accidents and can be extremely difficult to deal with. If you have questions about a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim, call us today at (508) 879-3500. We are always here to help.