Workers’ Compensation Challenges – Rebel R.

One of the most dangerous work environments one can imagine is a major construction site with multiple pieces of heavy equipment trying to navigate around the site without striking each other or other workers who are located in the area. With all the distractions in a confined space, it seems that it is just a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

Rebel R. was employed by a local construction company. In the course of her employment, she was on a job site near Culpeper where a driver was attempting to back up his dump truck. The driver failed to see Rebel, and despite her efforts to void the truck, she was knocked over by the dump truck. Rebel sustained injuries to her neck and back. She also began to suffer from migraine headaches. She tried conservative treatment for her injuries without significant success. Eventually, she had surgery for a multi-level fusion of her cervical spine. After surgery, she was referred to a pain management specialist who prescribed the implantation of a spinal cord stimulator (SCS). Rebel was 44 when she had the SCS implanted, and those devices have an average useful life of 6- 7 years. Given that she had a life expectancy of 37.8 years according to the statutory table, Rebel could anticipate needing 6 or 7 of these devices over her lifetime.

Like many of our clients, Rebel was confused and uncertain of her rights and entitlements under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. She retained HammondTownsend to help her make sense of the situation. Her primary concern was to have a source of funds to pay for her medical treatment for the foreseeable future. She also wanted to take control of her treatment and not have to seek prior approval from her employer or its insurance company before she could get the medical care that her doctor recommended. We proposed mediation with a former Commissioner of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, and the employer agreed.

With the assistance of the mediator, HammondTownsend was able to secure a settlement for Rebel in the amount of $245,000 which achieved both of her goals. She now had the funds to pay for her ongoing medical treatment, and full control over her medical decisions.

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