On a Summer day in Awendaw, South Carolina, a 66-year-old man’s life was changed forever. After immigrating from South America, he had built a good life here in S.C. He had dedicated three decades of his life to his employer, and was promoted to supervisor at his job. On the day of his accident, he was supervising a pile-driving team, using heavy equipment to dig holes. It was a seemingly routine operation that would soon take a tragic turn. After the incident, the client’s daughter, who handled much of the communication for her father since he was not a native English speaker, decided they needed help getting the compensation her father deserved. She called Joye Law Firm and Attorney Matt Jackson, head of our Workers’ Compensation Department, took on the case alongside Case Manager Deana Nash.
Misplaced Equipment on the Job Site Causes Significant Injury
Tragedy struck when our client and his colleagues attempted to remove a cotter pin from the auger. Lacking the proper tool, they resorted to using a hatchet-style axe. However, a crucial oversight occurred as the axe was left on top of the machinery. When the crane activated, the axe vibrated off and plummeted from a height of 10-15 feet, striking our client, who was bent over, on the side of his head near his neck. The gash was incredibly deep, and it was a near miss from decapitating him.
Immediate Medical Treatment for Severe Gash
In the immediate aftermath, our client was rushed to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), where he received critical medical attention. The severe laceration was sewn up and a scan revealed that the axe nearly missed vital tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. He, thankfully, also escaped without any major fractures. Nevertheless, the client’s family noticed that something was amiss with his behavior, raising concerns about underlying issues.
Independent Medical Evaluation Notes Post-Concussion Syndrome and PTSD
While injured workers in the SC Workers Compensation System must see medical professionals dictated by their employer, there are times when a second opinion is warranted, such as in this case. Atty. Jackson set up his client with an Independent Medical Examination (IME). The IME shed light on the client’s condition, revealing the presence of post-concussion syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and severe depression. Notably, these mental and physical health issues were not part of his life prior to the accident. The client suffered from various debilitating symptoms, including recurrent headaches, intermittent blurry vision, an unsteady gait, memory impairment, and an inability to multitask. Where he had once been a very active member of his family and community, he now spent most of his time sitting in his yard, unable to work or do the things he once enjoyed. A year and four months following the accident, a medical professional still strongly advised against the client’s return to work, citing the potential risks it posed.
Insurance Company Hires Private Investigator
In a failed attempt to undervalue his workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company that represented the victim’s employer hired a private investigator to surveil our client, hoping to catch him undermining the severity of his condition. They used a photo they took of him buying a PVC pipe to claim that he was still working, and then attempted to settle the case for an astonishingly low amount of $5,000. During a deposition, however, it was determined the incredibly light pipe was purchased on behalf of his son whose pipes had burst during a freeze and who did not have a truck to purchase the pipe. The client did not do any work outside of helping transport the pipe.
Injured Worker Receives Workers’ Comp Settlement
Following depositions, reports from medical examiners, and mediation, Attorney Jackson succeeded in securing a settlement of $165,000 for his client. This financial compensation provided the client with the support and justice he rightfully deserved after the physical and emotional challenges the client had endured.
Attorney Jackson not only provided skilled representation for his client, but he went above and beyond the call of duty to establish a strong and empathetic connection with the client and his family. “Outside of being my client, I really liked the guy. At one point he said he felt like a full-body pillow would alleviate his pain, and I knew it would be a while till his case was settled so I went ahead and bought him one. He was really appreciative of this small gesture, and that’s what makes my job worth it. To get to help shine a little light on a difficult situation,” said Atty. Jackson.
This case exemplifies why it is so important for injured workers to reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney after an on-the-job injury. A consultation costs nothing, and it could make all the difference in the outcomes of a case. While this incident will forever mark our client, the legal team at Joye Law Firm led by Atty. Jackson was able to help their client get the compensation and support necessary for his future well-being.
Disclaimer: past results do not guarantee future outcomes.