$156,000 Workers’ Compensation Settlement to Charles Stoman, a Myrtle Beach Mechanic, Who Needed Multiple Surgeries after Getting Hurt on the Job.
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Charles worked for the same trucking company for over 20 years. So, when he needed multiple surgeries to repair the damage done by years of heavy labor, Charles thought the company would take care of him. After a series of low-ball offers, Charles called the Joye Law Firm. Our workers’ compensation lawyers settled Charles’ case for almost $100,000 more than the insurance company’s “best offer.”
Charles has always been proud of his independence and his ability to provide for his family through hard work.
“I never had it easy,” said Charles. “Everything I have gotten in life was based on hard work and what I could do with my hands.”
Early in his life, Charles realized that he had a special talent for any mechanical tasks. He turned these abilities into a way to make a good living, and he worked as a mechanic all of his adult life before he was injured.
Before developing problems with both of his arms as the result of repetitive work activities, Charles had worked as a heavy diesel mechanic for the same trucking company for nearly 20 years. Unfortunately, the severity of the problems he developed were such that he eventually had to undergo surgeries on both of his arms.
Following his surgeries, Charles was left with significant physical restrictions which prevented him from performing any overhead activities and also limited his ability to do such basic physical tasks as gripping, pulling and twisting. Charles was advised by his employer that they would be unable to provide him with future employment due to his physical restrictions. At age 60, Charles was left in a situation where it was unlikely that he was going to be able to find any future employment.
“All of the work I have ever done has been heavy, physical work. If the company I had worked for 20 years couldn’t use me, there was no way I could see any other company wanting to hire me in the condition I was in,” said Charles.
The next fall, the workers’ compensation insurance company for his former employer contacted Charles about settling his claim. Initially, the insurance company offered to settle the claim in its entirety for $54,995.16. Without having received any advice from an attorney, Charles advised the workers’ compensation insurance company that he would settle the claim for $75,000.00.
The workers’ compensation adjuster responded with an offer of $63,000.00, advising him that this was the “top dollar” offer which would be made on the case. So, Charles decided to contact Joye Law Firm attorney Ken Harrell at that time.
“My wife and my daughter have both worked for lawyers and they kept telling me I needed to talk to a lawyer about my case. I was hesitant to do it. I just felt like the lawyer would end up cutting into what my final recovery would be,” said Charles.
After being retained, Mr. Harrell advised Charles that while he felt the workers’ compensation insurance company was significantly under-valuing his claim, he would limit his percentage fee to one-third of what he could recover for Charles in excess of the $63,000.00 offer which had been made by the insurance company.
“To me, this was a clear disability case. Charles had had to leave school early to help out on his family farm and at age 60, it was unlikely that he could be retrained for another line of work. I have no doubts that Charles was a great mechanic but over the years, the hard work he did simply wore his body out,” said Mr. Harrell.
After being retained, Mr. Harrell filed a hearing request on Charles’ behalf with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. He also set up an assessment of Charles by a vocational consultant.
Not surprisingly, the vocational consultant was of the opinion that no stable job market existed for Charles given his physical limitations.
After months of negotiation, the case was eventually resolved. At that time, an agreement was reached to settle Charles’ claim for $156,000.00. In addition to this amount, the insurance company paid Charles over $14,000.00 in additional weekly disability benefits from the date of its “top dollar” offer until the date of settlement. Finally, Mr. Harrell was also able to insert specific language into the settlement agreement to allow Charles to significantly increase his monthly Social Security disability benefit.
“I am glad I had a stubborn adjuster,” said Charles. “Working with Ken on this case has really changed some of the things I had thought about lawyers. If somebody I know has been hurt at work, I know where I will send them.”