Jill Bollwerk filed suit for a truck driver after she first settled his workers compensation claim for him due to the same injury. He was injured while sitting at a stoplight in his truck by a vehicle who had been involved in a crash in the intersection and then ran into his vehicle. The trucker had recently recovered from one of several past surgeries on his shoulder. The crash caused yet another injury to his shoulder and he had to have a shoulder replacement. Jill had to vigorously fight to get the trucker treatment in the workers' compensation case, going so far as a hardship hearing, as the workers' compensation doctors said that the shoulder was already bad and that the work accident wasn't the prevailing factor for the need for the surgery. Jill had him examined by a different physician who testified that the crash was, indeed, the prevailing factor in needing the shoulder replacement. The case went to hearing. The workers' compensation judge ruled in the trucker's favor and stated that the employer had to pay for the shoulder replacement surgery in the worker's compensation case. After surgery and many months of grueling therapy, the trucker was released and settled his workers compensation case for approximately $37,000
But that wasn't the end of his case--not by a long-shot. She then proceeded to file suit against the two drivers who collided in the intersecion and then were propelled into the trucker as he sat at the stoplight. Both drivers claimed that the other driver ran a red light, so Jill had to litigate the case, taking the depositions of the parties. She then took the deposition of the workers' compensation surgeon who treated the trucker on several of his prior shoulder surgeries, who testified favorably for the trucker, stating that the car crash contributed to the need for the shoulder replacement. After that surgery, the case settled. One of the drivers paid his policy limits of $25,000. The other driver paid an additionl $220,000.
But that still wasn't the end of the case. Because the workers' compensation law allows the workers compensation carrier to be repaid out of the proceeds of whatever the trucker would receive in the case against the two drivers (third parties), the trucker had to pay a portion of the settlement back to the workers' compensation carrier. However, Jill was able to negotiate a substantial reduction on the amount the trucker was legally obligated to pay back to the workers' compensation carrier, allowing the trucker to keep more of the settlement than the workers' compensation law would allow.
It is important to hire an attorney who understands both the workers' compensation law and the civil law if you are injured in an auto crash on the job. We at Bollwerk & Tatlow are equipped to handle both cases, and we know how the laws interract with one another.