Case Type: Workers’ Compensation – Traumatic Brain Injury
Summary: In 2012, Employee of resort hotel in Western North Carolina sustained a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) when he accidentally fell nearly 20 feet from a loading dock onto a concrete embankment. After initial treatment for his acute injuries, although the Employee did not require skilled or unskilled nursing care, per se, the Employee’s spouse and adult sons alleged he required significant safety supervision due to impaired judgment and short-term memory loss. The Employer and its insurance carrier had failed to provide any compensation to family members for provision of such services, despite medical evidence regarding the reasonable necessity of such. Compensation for such safety supervision care provided by family members may be ordered by the North Carolina Industrial Commission based on proper, competent evidence that such services are medically reasonable and necessary.
After the Employer and claims administrator presented to the Employee a settlement offer in the amount of $165,000.00 to fully resolve the Employee’s claims which, in particular, did not consider compensation for safety supervision services, the Employee, and his family retained the services of Jay Kerr Law. The firm immediately retained qualified experts to evaluate the Employee’s necessary safety supervision, as well as his projected future medical care needs.
Based on such expert evidence, the firm obtained necessary opinions from the Employee’s authorized treating physician supporting the Employee’s reasonable need for safety supervision and documenting the severity of his TBI, with the latter supporting statutory rights to life-time wage indemnity compensation. Pursuant to a mediated conference prior to a formal hearing before the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the parties resolved the pending claims via a structured settlement, including funding for monthly payments to the Employee for his use to compensate family members for safety supervision services.
Verdicts & Settlements: $1.75M settlement ends workers’ comp claim (PDF)
Phillip Bantz of NC Lawyers Weekly – March 7, 2018