Type of action: Workers’ compensation
Injuries alleged: Paraplegia
Court: Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorney for plaintiff: Stephen T. Harper, Richmond
Description of case: Client was a 31-year-old married man working in Richmond when he fell off a roof. He was wearing a safety harness at the time, but the restraining gear on the safety harness failed, and the client was injured and rendered a paraplegic. He was originally from Mexico with three small children ages 13, 10, and 4, who were residing with his wife in Mexico at the time of his accident. Following his accident, he was transferred to a rehab center in Philadelphia, even though he had never been to Pennsylvania and had been living in Richmond at the time of the accident. After he was moved to Philadelphia, he hired plaintiff’s counsel to represent him. Once involved in the case, counsel was able to get the carrier to pay for a hotel room for several months for him when he was discharged from the rehab facility until he was able to locate a suitable apartment. In addition, counsel was able to get the carrier to start paying him a weekly compensation that allowed his wife to travel from Mexico to be with him and help with his care and in rehab. However, the client’s children were still in Mexico with relatives. Both the client and his wife wanted to return to Mexico to be with their children and family. Ultimately, the case was settled for $1.25 million, which paid the client over $500,000 up front and an annuity that would pay him monthly benefits for the rest of his life with a guarantee of 25 years of benefits for his family if he were to pass within the first 25 years. In addition, prior to settlement, counsel got the carrier to pay $1.95 million in lost wages and medical benefits for the client. Client was moving back to Mexico to be with his children following the success of their settlement.
Stephen T. Harper, counsel for plaintiff, provided case information.