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Multi-million Dollar Settlement Reached in Ridegland Worker’s Comp Case

August 24, 2015 Workers' Compensation

In a case that is a perfect representation why injured workers should always fight for their right to worker’s compensation, a Ridgeland, South Carolina man has won a $1.1 million settlement against his employer.

The victim in this case was a painter who was working on the inside of an industrial tank. He was found later in the tank unconscious. It turned out his respirator equipment malfunctioned resulting in the man being exposed to the toxic paint fumes and not receiving enough oxygen to his brain. He has suffered permanent damage from the incident including the inability to speak and memory loss. When the victim filed his injury claim with his employer, they denied coverage and suggested that non-work-related pre-existing conditions were the reason behind his injuries.

What makes this settlement so surprising is the existing cap on damages that governs South Carolina worker’s compensation laws. The cap or limit on damages is dictated by the source of the injury and the type of damage you seek. For example, the cap on medical malpractice cases is $350,000 in non-economic damages against a single defendant and $1.05 million against multiple defendants. In worker’s compensation cases, however, every injury fits on a particular schedule of fees i.e. has a set amount of money that applies to it based on the body part and how it was injured.

Unfortunately, employers and their insurance companies do everything they can to not pay out compensation benefits to injured employees. This includes telling employees they had a pre-existing condition or that the employee was at fault. However, even if you are at fault, you are still entitled to workers’ compensations benefits if the injury is work-related. An employer will also go out of their way to only a pay partial amount for your injuries, but again, you are entitled to certain amounts and benefits depending on the body part, injury, and circumstances. They may also only try to pay a lump sum rather than life-long benefits. Again, depending on your injury, you may be entitled to receiving more. In South Carolina, an injured employee is entitled to medical treatment and benefits that will cure or limit any disability. This includes surgery, medical supplies, hospital visits, and disability benefits. Furthermore, you are entitled to a lump sum payment for permanent disability or loss of wages once you have finished your immediate medical treatment.

In this case, because the employee challenged the company’s insurance decision to deny coverage, the company settled for $1,178,878 with $178,878 placed in a Medicare Set-Aside account for future medical expenses and treatment. He was only able to win this amount of money because he pushed back against the employer’s decision. It is illustrative of why any injured worker should consult an experienced worker’s compensation attorney the moment they are injured.

If you have been injured at work or while performing work-related duties, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits and/or a payout. Even if the company turns you down, there is the opportunity to challenge the decision. Please contact an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer who can help you with your claim.