Work-Related Herniated Disc
Our Client, a 58 year old food service delivery driver, slipped while making a delivery and suffered a disc herniation at L4-L5. After hiring Schemery Zicolello, the Client began receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits for his work-related back injury. The employer and its insurance company then hired a vocational expert to perform a Labor Market Survey and Earning Power Assessment in an effort to decrease or eliminate future wage loss benefits payable to our Client. The employer’s vocational expert concluded that work within our Client’s physical restrictions was available in the local labor market, and that our Client had an earning capacity that would result in a significant reduction in his weekly benefit amount. Upon receiving this opinion, the employer filed a Petition to Modify or reduce our Client’s benefits with the Workers’ Compensation Judge. The attorneys at Schemery Zicolello filed a Petition to expand the description of Claimant’s injury to include his adjacent lumbar level. Schemery Zicolello defended against the Petition filed by the employer by arguing that our Client had no particular skills that would allow him to return to alternative work, and that he had no customer service experience; nor was he physically able to perform the jobs identified by the defense vocational expert. Schemery Zicolello asked for an award of attorney fees since the employer had no reasonable basis to refuse to expand the description of injury. In the course of litigation, Schemery Zicolello negotiated a lump sum settlement for our Client in the amount of $230,000. During the time the Client was represented by Schemery Zicolello, he received wage loss benefits in excess of $400,000.