Workers’ Compensation Case Examples
QR represented an employee from Blair County with a serious ankle injury who returned to work with restrictions after surgery but was later compelled to resign. After multiple hearings where the employer’s witnesses contended that our client quit without cause, Attorney Michael Routch was able to get her workers’ compensation benefits reinstated and later negotiate a favorable lump sum resolution to the claim.
Our client from Mifflin County, Pennsylvania was burned on 3 separate occasions by molten steel while working in a steel mill. Later, the severity of the incidents resulted in him suffering severe mental illness that prevented him from working. When his claims were denied, Attorney Michael Routch arranged an examination by a psychological expert who recognized that his mental illness was a result of the burn injuries. The client was eventually awarded benefits due to his mental injury and the scars caused by his burn injuries.
A 60-year-old truck driver/mechanic from Indiana, PA sustained serious injuries to his right hand, wrist, and fingers preventing him from returning to his pre-injury job. He found a light-duty job with a new employer but was earning less than before. When the Workers’ Compensation insurance company unilaterally stopped his benefits and filed a Suspension Petition, Quatrini Rafferty and Attorney Peter Gough countered with Penalty Petitions for stopping benefits and for delays in reinstating benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Judge agreed with Attorney Gough and awarded significant monetary penalties and attorney fees against the Insurance Carrier for their violations of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Faced with having to pay addition penalties of up to fifty percent, the insurance company agreed to pay penalties and settle the case for a significant lump sum.
A 40-year-old registered nurse/health care provider from Cambria County in Pennsylvania sustained a hand and wrist injury from a patient. The employer obtained an independent medical examination (IME) and filed a Termination and Suspension Petition alleging she could return to her job as a forensic nurse. Quatrini Rafferty and Attorney Peter Gough successfully defeated the Employer’s Petitions by arguing that her injuries were much more significant than a wrist sprain. Agreeing with Attorney Peter Gough’s position, the Workers’ Compensation Judge concluded that the description of injury should be expanded to include a TFCC tear, tendonitis, neuritis of the dorsal cutaneous branch of the ulnar nerve, and ulnar impaction syndrome. The Judge further concluded that the nurse had not recovered from her injuries and was unable to return to work. Her benefits continue to be paid through the present.
A 20-year-old therapist was assaulted by a patient in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Although it was not disputed that the therapist sustained injuries, including a concussion, the Employer and Workers’ Compensation Carrier issued a Medical Only Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable. Essentially, the employer disputed the fact that the therapist was disabled or unable to work and, as such, refused to pay wage loss/indemnity benefits. Quatrini Rafferty and Attorney Peter Gough filed a Claim Petition arguing the therapist sustained disabling physical injuries to the head and chest, including a concussion and a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)/Closed Head Injury. All matters were resolved through a Compromise and Release Agreement, specifically via a lump sum settlement to the client’s satisfaction.
A 50-year-old laborer who worked for the same company for most of his life sustained multiple injuries to both his shoulders, including massive rotator cuff tears due to his strenuous work duties. Despite undergoing surgeries and sustaining a significant disability to both his shoulders, the employer demanded that the injured worker take a “light duty job.” While attempting to perform the modified job, he ended up hurting his shoulders even more. The employer filed a Modification Petition alleging the injured workers’ benefits should be reduced or terminated. The Workers’ Compensation Judge found that the light-duty job was not a good faith job offer and that the job did not fall within the existing physical restrictions. The Modification Petition was denied and dismissed. The employer agreed to settle the wage loss portion of the case for a significant lump sum payment. Moreover, the employer agreed to pay for future work-related medical bills. Attorney Peter Gough and Quatrini Rafferty won the Workers’ Compensation case, negotiated a significant settlement, AND obtained Social Security Disability benefits for the very deserving injured worker.
Coal mining is dangerous. When the unexpected happens in a coal mine, serious or fatal accidents can occur. We recently represented three clients from Indiana and Westmoreland County who worked as underground miners. Out of nowhere, a roof rock fell, striking Chris’s foot and slicing into an ankle tendon. A drilling machine spring ejected unexpectedly, and struck Scott’s bicep at a high speed. Multiple surgeries did not repair either injury. Tim, who was in his 50’s, was operating a loader when the roof fall occurred which caused the roof of the machine to hit him on the head, knocking him out and pinning him in the vehicle. After more than two years, Tim still experiences awful headaches and memory loss from his severe concussion. He also has constant pain in his neck and lower back. The multiple injuries to Scott, Chris, and Tim have been career-ending. The attorneys at QuatriniRafferty worked closely with Chris and Scott to get excellent medical care as well as to obtain very fair lump sum settlements for them so that they could start over in jobs that they could perform with their permanent limitations. We are presently working with Tim’s treating physicians to obtain Social Security Disability for him, since his age prohibits him from starting over and learning a new profession.
Allegheny County — Workers’ Compensation
QR represented an individual who suffered a left distal radius fracture while working in Allegheny County. The injury required surgery, and the employee was forced to return to a modified duty job. The injured worked was eventually removed from work by her treating surgeon, but the workers’ compensation insurance company did not reinstate her workers’ comp checks. The injured worker hired QR, who filed a reinstatement petition with a Workers’ Compensation Judge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Following testimony and the submission of medical records, the workers’ compensation insurance company reinstated the injured workers’ benefits and, eventually, entered into an agreement to settle the entire claim for multiple years of future workers’ compensation checks.
Beaver County, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania— Workers’ Compensation (Shoulder Injury Firing Without Cause)
Quatrini Rafferty represented a male in his late 20’s who injured his right shoulder at work. The injury occurred as he was attempting to dislodge an air bag from the steering wheel of a large truck. Although the Employer, a trucking company, acknowledged his injury, our client was fired while he was working a modified, light-duty job. Quatrini Rafferty filed a Reinstatement Petition and presented its argument to a workers’ compensation judge in Aliquippa, PA, that the trucking company fired our client without cause and, therefore, should reinstate his weekly workers’ compensation checks. After several hearings of testimony, including the corroborating story of our client’s former boss, the judge determined that our client was fired and entitled to retroactive benefits dating back to the time of the firing, as well as ongoing weekly checks.
Blair County, Pennsylvania — Workers’ Compensation
QR represented a five-year employee of Sheetz. The client was a warehouse worker in the distribution center. While picking product, the client smacked his wrist into a racking bar and developed an immediate knot below his thumb on the top of his hand. The client underwent surgery for both a ganglion cyst and for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Unfortunately, neither surgery alleviated his pain, nor did they increase his ability to use his hand for work-related activities. The client’s problem then became more complicated when — after the two surgeries — he developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), also known as Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). The client’s employer tried to force him back to work in the warehouse. Attorney Vince Quatrini put the client in touch with a top-notch upper extremity physician, who took over the client’s case. Attorney Quatrini worked with the doctor to protect the client from being forced back to a job that he could not do. The attorneys at Quatrini Rafferty also filed the client for Social Security Disability and obtained an award for him. After that, attorney Vince Quatrini worked out a lump-sum settlement for the client, which allowed the client to pay off his debts and be able to live on his monthly Social Security Disability check.
Hollidaysburg, Blair County — Workers’ Compensation
Quatrini Rafferty represented a female working in the Military and Veterans Affairs Home, in Hollidaysburg, as a nursing assistant. Our client suffered what looked like an innocent knee injury when she tripped over a lamp cord. But, after two surgeries, and a diagnosis of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), her working career as a floor nurse was over. That is when attorney Vince Quatrini stepped in and began a 15-year battle to protect her weekly Workers’ Compensation benefit — her primary source of income. Our client was a widow. She passed away in 2017, collecting her total disability check right up to the day she died.
Indiana County — Workers’ Compensation Health Care Worker
A healthcare worker from Indiana County sustained several injuries over her 35 years with her employer, including injuries to her shoulder, neck ( cervical subluxations, brachial radiculitis), knee, thumb, and ankle. Because of the manner in which this healthcare worker was injured, she was entitled to both Workers’ Compensation and Act 534 benefits. Despite the employer’s repeated attempts to stop this healthcare worker’s benefits, Quatrini Rafferty was able to maintain all her benefits until a beneficial lump-sum settlement was reached. In addition to succeeding in the Workers’ Compensation and Act 534 cases, Quatrini Rafferty also won the Social Security Disability case that resulted in the healthcare worker receiving her full monthly Social Security benefits as well as her full Workers’ Compensation and Act 534 benefits. After the Workers’ Compensation and Act 534 cases settled, the healthcare worker was able to apply for disability retirement.
Washington County — Workers’ Compensation Penalties
If a workers’ compensation judge finds that the Employer or Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier violated the Workers’ Compensation Act, up to 50 percent penalties can be awarded to the injured Worker. Quatrini Rafferty recently achieved a penalty award of $55,995.13 for their client when they convinced the workers’ compensation judge that the Insurance Administrator’s two-month delay in paying medical bills was a substantial violation of the Act. The injured worker, who sustained third-degree burns to both his hands, required urgent care at West Penn Hospital. When the Employer/Administrator had not paid the hospital bills for almost two months, Quatrini Rafferty filed a Penalty Petition that successfully established that the delay of payment of medical bills was a violation of the Act. The hospital bill was paid within days and the injured worker was awarded a cash payment of almost $56,000 in addition to receiving weekly wage loss benefits.
Indiana County — Workers’ Compensation Benefits Obtained For Widow And Disabled Child
On a really cold day in January, a 54-year-old Marcellus Shale fresh-water truck driver, Carl, picked up his vehicle at his work site in Clymer, Indiana County, and drove to a nearby creek to load up. Two hours later, Carl was found lying face down beside his truck, dead. The 10-foot-long hoses he was using were strewn along the ground from the back of the truck down the snow-covered hillside, extending into the creek. The autopsy confirmed that Carl died from a heart attack.
You would assume that his Indiana County employer and its workers’ compensation insurance company agreed to pay his widow and their disabled daughter weekly benefits. You would assume that they agreed that his myocardial infarction was work-related. Well, neither his employer nor the insurance company agreed to pay Carl’s widow. They denied the claim.
Vince Quatrini, the principal attorney on the claim, undertook a two-year battle to obtain benefits for our widow and adult disabled daughter through the Indiana County Workers’ Compensation hearing office. Part of our job was to gather all the medical records over the last five years of Carl’s life, including all the records surrounding that fatal day, and submit those records, along with photos of the work site, confirmation of the cold temperature, and the autopsy report, to a highly qualified forensic pathologist.
The good news: We were successful! We obtained a very significant lump-sum award for Carl’s widow and daughter. And, we purchased an annuity (periodic monthly payments paid out over a number of years) with most of the monies so that we could provide for long-term financial protection for them.
What did it take? Vince used his many years of experience to identify the right expert. He subpoenaed the job description to show the weights of the hoses, the weather report to substantiate the freezing temperature (cold weather causes the arteries to contract), and Carl’s old PCP records to show he was not treating for heart problems. With this thorough homework, and Vince’s extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania’s law of death cases, Vince put together a very persuasive case which the insurance company conceded and settled the claim.