$1.75 Million Settlement…

Attorney Jeremiah Van Dora recently was able to successfully resolve a catastrophic workers' compensation case for a catastrophically injured client.

Our client was severely injured on the job. He was employed at a tree farm in Northeast Georgia. On the date of injury he was working with his supervisor and part owner of the company, and another coworker. They were loading already harvested Virginia Pines onto a flatbed trailer. The claimant was driving a Bobcat type piece of equipment with a boom pole with a hook and strap. The straps were similar to heavy duty ratchet straps. The claimant was on the ground and would attach the strap around the base of the tree’s rootball. Once secured the supervisor would lift the tree, turn and set on the flatbed trailer. The other coworker was positioned on the flatbed trailer to help guide the trees in as well putting them into position on the trailer.

The claimant’s injury occurred when after securing the strap around the rootball, his supervisor lifted the tree with the BobCat and began to turn towards the flatbed. Once he began to turn the bobcat, part of the strap broke and the tree began to swing. The tree then swung back and struck our client in the upper arm/back, knocking him face first into the ground. The impact with the ground is what caused the cervical injury and quadriplegia.

From the scene, our client was taken to Piedmont Athens Regional where he underwent extensive treatment from neurosurgeon Dr. Kim Walpert including multiple surgeries to his cervical spine.

The employer/insurer initially controverted or denied the case on a WC -1 based on a positive toxicology screen for amphetamines and marijuana. We were able to overcome the affirmative defense by proving our client was not intoxicated at all at the time of the on the job injury.

Jeremiah Van Dora was hired and filed into the case in October 2023. He requested a hearing immediately and began the litigation process. Multiple depositions were taken to help prove our case. This allowed our client to have all of his benefits paid, including weekly income checks and all medical.

Our client then treated at Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta, Georgia where he was an in-house patient for nearly 4 months. He learned how to live as a quadriplegic. This included a custom electric wheelchair that he can control and drive with his mouth.

After several years of treatment, we were able to successfully settle our client’s case for $1,750,000.00. This includes setting up a special needs trust to ensure our client’s settlement will last for his entire life and allow him to have all of the things he needs

Navigating Georgia Workers' Compensation Claims: Understanding Catastrophic Claims Involving Quadriplegia

In the realm of workers' compensation, few cases are as complex and significant as those involving catastrophic injuries like quadriplegia. These cases not only affect the injured worker but also their families and require a thorough understanding of legal processes, medical care, and long-term implications. Georgia, like many states, has specific provisions and guidelines tailored to handle such severe claims. Here, we delve into what quadriplegia entails within the context of Georgia's workers' compensation system.

### What is Quadriplegia?

Quadriplegia, also known as tetraplegia, is a condition that results from a severe spinal cord injury, typically at the cervical level of the spine. It causes a loss of sensation and motor function in all four limbs and often impacts other bodily functions, such as breathing and bladder control. The life-altering nature of quadriplegia necessitates extensive medical care, rehabilitation, and ongoing support.

### Georgia Workers' Compensation Overview

In Georgia, the workers' compensation system provides benefits to employees who sustain work-related injuries or illnesses. These benefits typically cover medical expenses, wage replacement, vocational rehabilitation, and compensation for permanent disabilities. For catastrophic injuries like quadriplegia, the compensation process becomes particularly intricate due to the high costs involved and the long-term impact on the injured worker's life.

### Special Considerations for Catastrophic Claims

#### Medical Treatment and Rehabilitation

The immediate medical needs of someone with quadriplegia are extensive and ongoing. Workers' compensation in Georgia ensures that injured workers receive necessary medical treatment, including surgeries, medications, rehabilitation therapies, and assistive devices such as wheelchairs and ventilators. The goal is to maximize the injured worker's recovery and quality of life to the greatest extent possible.

#### Disability Benefits

Quadriplegia is considered a catastrophic injury under Georgia workers' compensation law. This designation entitles the injured worker to specific benefits tailored to their long-term needs. Disability benefits in such cases may include compensation for permanent total disability (PTD), which provides ongoing financial support since the injury often prevents the worker from returning to any form of gainful employment.

#### Vocational Rehabilitation

In cases where a worker with quadriplegia can potentially re-enter the workforce in some capacity, Georgia's workers' compensation system offers vocational rehabilitation services. These services aim to equip the injured worker with the skills, training, and support necessary to pursue alternative employment opportunities that accommodate their abilities and limitations.

### Legal Aspects and Challenges

Navigating a catastrophic workers' compensation claim involving quadriplegia requires specialized legal expertise. Challenges may arise in determining the extent of the injury, evaluating the future medical and financial needs of the injured worker, and ensuring that all entitled benefits are provided. Legal professionals experienced in Georgia workers' compensation law can assist in advocating for the injured worker's rights and securing the maximum compensation available under the law.

### Conclusion

Catastrophic injuries such as quadriplegia profoundly impact the lives of injured workers and their families. In Georgia, the workers' compensation system is designed to provide comprehensive support, including medical treatment, disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation, to individuals facing such life-altering injuries. Navigating these claims requires a deep understanding of both medical complexities and legal intricacies.

If you or someone you know is facing a catastrophic workers' compensation claim involving quadriplegia in Georgia, seeking guidance from experienced legal professionals is crucial. The Van Dora Law Firm specializes in workers' compensation law and has offices conveniently located in Hartwell and Athens, Georgia. Contact The Van Dora Law Firm today at (706) 377-4044 for a consultation to understand your rights and ensure you receive the comprehensive support and compensation you deserve during this challenging time.