After suffering a traumatic brain injury at work at the age of 18, a California man recently obtained an $8.9 million settlement, the highest known workers' compensation settlement in the state's history. The man sustained the catastrophic injury in 2004 after falling 20 feet from a scaffold while working as a painter. Most of the $8.9 million settlement represents future medical expenses.
Following the accident, the man suffered several psychological and physical ailments. Physical injuries included damage to his knee and shoulder. Although his MRI and CT scans provided negative results for a traumatic brain injury, medical experts related to the case concluded that he had a "mild" traumatic brain injury. Even mild traumatic brain injuries can result in lifelong complications and repercussions for those injured.
According to the California Division of Workers' Compensation, an employer must pay for workers' compensation benefits if its employee is injured on the job. Injuries can be caused by one-time events such as falling, slipping or getting burned. Potentially less noticeable, however, are workplace injuries caused by repeated exposure. Examples include wrist injuries from repetitive motions, hearing loss caused by constant noise or lung damage from prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals.
The different types of workers' compensation benefits available include medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits and death benefits. When employees are injured at work, it's important that their supervisors are notified immediately. For those who are afraid they might be fired because of their injury, it's illegal for an employer to punish or fire its employees for having a workplace injury, or for filing a legitimate workers' compensation claim.
Without proper representation, many injured workers find the process of recovering workers' compensation daunting, difficult and ultimately disappointing.
Source: Insurance Journal, "Lawyer Claims Highest Known Workers' Comp Settlement in California History," Don Jergler, March 7, 2012