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Home / Verdicts & Settlements / Nurse contracted COVID at work, suffers ‘long hauler’ symptoms — $390,000 settlement

Nurse contracted COVID at work, suffers ‘long hauler’ symptoms — $390,000 settlement

Type of action: Workers’ compensation

Injuries alleged: COVID-19 “long hauler” symptoms, including brain injury

Name of case: Lupold v. Northern Virginia Community Hospital LLC

Court: Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission

Case no.: VA00001726849

Date resolved: 7/16/2021

Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: $390,000

Attorney for plaintiff (and city): Michele S. Lewane, Richmond

Description of case: The claimant was a registered nurse in an intensive care unit who treated COVID patients. She contracted COVID-19 at work on April 12, 2020, which the insurance carrier accepted. Unfortunately, she had significant long-term medical complications which were denied as being related to her contracting COVID-19 to include hypoxic brain injury (frontal lobe damage and cognitive problems), PTSD and heart/lung/liver damage.

The claimant suffers from hypoxic brain injury to her frontal lobe. Her brain injury is due to the restriction of oxygen being supplied to the brain when she was ill with COVID 19. Unfortunately, as with all brain injuries, the most rapid part of the recovery is in the first six months and after one year any improvement will be very moderate. She still has significant impairments. She still suffers from headaches, dizziness, debilitating fatigue, cognitive functioning, word finding and stuttering. She is in several therapies, including physical therapy to help with her balance and dizziness and speech therapy. She also needs a device called a Speech Easy for her stuttering.

While we had medical causation from her treating physicians, the defense was arguing that she was never hospitalized, that she worked 10 weeks post testing negative for COVID and that they could easily get IMEs that say it is unknown what caused her current symptoms, and that her symptoms are only temporary. Given the new status of the law on COVID-19 and the pending appeals and litigation surrounding its retroactive properties, and given the evolving medical awareness of all the symptoms and complications with “long haulers,” settlement was an excellent option for the client.