Case Summary

Workers’ Compensation

A CNA who suffered a shoulder strain in November of 2022 was evaluated and given restrictions. After notifying the employer nursing home of her restrictions, she was advised that no work was available. However, the employer did not, pursuant to the Act, accept or reject the injury within 21 days from when the injury was suffered and the claim reported. Attorneys at Schemery Zicolello filed a Claim Petition on Claimant’s behalf 60 days after the injury occurred. Throughout the course of litigation, the employer failed to provide copies of the Claimant’s employment file, the adjuster’s file and continued to claim that the injury was not work related despite Claimant’s having timely reported the injury and despite the fact that a panel physician found that Claimant had restrictions related to the work injury. In the midst of litigation, the employer/workers’ compensation carrier expressed an interest in mediation. The mediation was conducted and resulted in a payment of $60,000.00 to the injured worker of which $11,000.00 represented attorney’s fees based on the employer having denied the claim without a reasonable basis.

A 65 year old woman working in a Lycoming County manufacturing plant suffered a shoulder injury which resulted in a shoulder joint replacement. Claimant was interested in retiring and sought advice from Schemery Zicolello as to how her impending retirement might affect her workers’ compensation rights. Schemery Zicolello reached out to the employer/carrier on the injured worker’s behalf and the employer agreed to settle the claim without the need for additional litigation. Following negotiations, the injured worker received a lump sum payment the sum of $171,000.00. Additionally, Claimant was able to apply for and receive old age Social Security Benefits and began to draw retirement benefits from the employer on a monthly basis.

Claimant, while employed at a local manufacturing plant, suffered an injury to his right upper extremity in 1995. Claimant worked sporadically between 1995 and sometime in 1997 began receiving total disability benefits. Claimant consulted with Schemery Zicolello in 1997 when the employer attempted to terminate his benefits. Schemery Zicolello was successful in defending against the Termination Petition and Claimant’s ongoing benefits continued until 10 years later at which time Claimant’s wage loss benefits were resolved. The parties agreed that the employer would leave the Claimant’s medical entitlement open and that Claimant would continue to receive reasonable, necessary and related medical expenses to the right upper extremity injury. Thereafter, Claimant began receiving Social Security Disability benefits as well. In 2022, some 27 years after the original injury, the employer continued to honor Claimant’s medical expenses related to his right upper extremity. The employer filed a Petition to Terminate Claimant’s benefits, alleging that Claimant had fully recovered from the 1995 injury. SZ defended against the Petition by demonstrating that Claimant had developed a significant and ongoing chronic pain syndrome related to the initial injury to the right upper extremity which warranted ongoing medication for chronic pain management. In 2023 after lengthy negotiations, the employer agreed to pay Claimant $164,000.00 which included a Medical Set Aside Trust in the amount of $114,000.00. As a result of Claimant’s injury and with the help of Schemery Zicolello’s representation, Claimant received total wage benefits in the sum of $210,000.00, plus $357,905.00 in medical benefits over the life of his claim.

A 65 year old individual employed by a local manufacturing company with a 30 year history of low back complaints and a prior low back surgery suffered a strain/sprain to his low back while lifting a part in March of 2022. The Claimant sought representation from Schemery Zicolello and a Claim Petition was filed, seeking benefits as a result of the injury. The employer vigorously defended on the basis that Claimant’s injury was not as a result of lifting the part but rather as a result of his long standing low back degenerative changes and prior low back surgery at the same level. Five months into litigation the employer requested mediation to resolve the claim. As a result of a successful mediation, the Claimant received $110,000.00, and retired in connection with the settlement, receiving in addition to his lump sum payment, Social Security benefits without offset or reduction as well as monthly retirement benefits in the amount of $1,500.00 per month.

A 35 year old truck driver involved in a motor vehicle accident suffered severe burns about the head and neck as well as orthopedic injuries to his knee, right elbow and low back. Claimant received scarring benefits in the amount of $35,000.00 for the disfigurement caused by burns on Claimant’s head and neck. Following the accident, Claimant underwent surgery on his knee as well as his elbow. Claimant applied for and received Social Security Disability benefits. As a result of Claimant’s injuries and his recovery to date, Claimant had an interest in resolving his claim. The parties were able to negotiate a resolution whereby Claimant received $167,500.00 from the carrier for injuries suffered in addition to the previous sum paid as a result of the Claimant’s disfigurement claim. Claimant continued to receive Social Security Disability without reduction as a result of the payment of Workers’ Compensation benefits. The Workers’ Compensation carrier, as part of the resolution, agreed to leave the medical expense portion of Claimant’s claim open such that Claimant will be entitled to receive ongoing medical expenses for the injuries suffered in the accident for the rest of his life.

A 60 year old equipment operator worked for an excavation company in Tioga County suffered an injury during the winter months of 2019, when descending steps from a piece of heavy equipment. Claimant suffered a torn rotator cuff. Claimant sought the representation from Schemery Zicolello who successfully secured benefits. Claimant began receiving $968.37 a week and his medical expenses were paid. After the completion of litigation, Claimant mediated the claim before the local Workers’ Compensation Judge and resolved his claim with the payment of $227,000.00 which included a Medical Set Aside Trust in the amount of $20,700.00. Claimant, prior to entering into mediation, had applied for and had received Social Security Disability benefits, which he was able to enjoy without offset or credit as a result of the resolution of his claim.

Claimant suffered an injury while acting as a delivery driver for a food purveyor. Claimant suffered a herniated disc at L3-L4 and received Workers’ Compensations benefits after representation by Schemery Zicolello in a Claim Petition. Following a successful mediation, Claimant settled his benefits for $230,000.00.

Claimant was a retired mechanic but had secured a second job well into his retirement. At the age of 80, while employed as a mechanic, Claimant suffered an injury to his shoulder while performing the repetitive demands of his position. Claimant underwent surgery to repair the shoulder and had been receiving weekly Workers’ Compensation benefits at the rate of $497.50 per week. After Claimant consulted with Schemery Zicolello, and was interested in settling his claim, SZ negotiated a settlement for the sum of $110,000.00 in a lump sum; as part of that same settlement, the insurance carrier agreed to remain responsible for Claimant’s medical expenses related to the shoulder injury for the remainder of Claimant’s life.

Claimant was a 42 year old laborer employed in the gas field. In the course of lifting a pump used to extract water from containers, Claimant suffered an injury to his low back which resulted in a lumbar laminectomy and fusion. Claimant began receiving weekly benefits at the rate of $666.63 per week. The employer attempted to terminate Claimant’s benefits arguing that he was fully recovered. The employer also filed a Petition to Modify and Suspend Claimant’s benefits on the basis that work within Claimant’s abilities remained available. Claimant’s doctor agreed that Claimant was capable of returning to work but differed as to the level of work Claimant should be performing. After mandatory mediation was ordered by the Workers’ Compensation Judge, SZ successfully negotiated a settlement in the amount of $170,000.00, and Claimant successfully returned to work.

Claimant, a 60 year old woman, was employed by an employer who manufactured garage doors. Over the course of several years, Claimant performed repetitive work and developed bilateral thumb pain. Claimant sought treatment by a local plastic surgeon who advised Claimant that she had arthritis. Schemery Zicolello referred Claimant to the Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center where Claimant underwent bilateral thumb joint replacements and enjoyed significant relief of pain and almost full restoration of function in the thumbs. SZ successfully secured benefits for the Claimant. Later, the employer maintained that work was available and that as a result of the surgery, Claimant had fully recovered. During the second round of litigation, mediation was ordered and SZ secured settlement in the amount of $150,000.00 for Claimant’s thumb injuries.

Claimant, a machine operator, suffered an injury in late 2020 as a result of repetitive use. Claimant suffered what was identified as a left wrist fracture, resulting in surgery to his wrist and forearm. The employer, Halliburton Energy Services, reached out to Claimant through counsel. Schemery Zicolello negotiated a settlement for the Claimant in the amount of $170,000.00 shortly after Claimant was released to return to work by his treating physician.

Claimant was a 50 year old carpenter who fell from the second floor balcony while performing carpentry work on a banister. Claimant was diagnosed with suffering a concussion, post concussive syndrome and minor orthopedic injuries. The employer was insured by State Workers’ Insurance Fund and in 2015 as a result of the fall, Claimant consulted with Schemery Zicolello who represented Claimant through the course of the initial claim proceeding, resulting in Claimant’s receipt of weekly wage loss benefits and medical expenses. Claimant applied for and ultimately received Social Security Disability benefits as a result of injuries suffered in the fall. In the course of litigation, it was determined that Claimant had an additional esophageal injury recognized as related to the initial work injury. Claimant mediated the case and the parties agreed to a wage loss settlement of $160,000.00. The carrier agreed to leave medicals open for the remainder of the claim. From the date of injury through the time of Claimant’s settlement, SZ’s efforts resulted in gross benefits paid in the amount of $985,200.00.

Claimant was employed by a state run facility and in the course of her duties was assaulted by a client. Claimant was diagnosed with a cervical strain and PTSD as a result of the attack. The employer refused to accept the diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and Schemery Zicolello litigated the claim on Claimant’s behalf. Benefits were awarded for the post traumatic stress disorder and shortly thereafter the Claimant received $170,450.00 as a result of injuries suffered in the work related event. Additionally, Claimant was able to receive her retirement benefits without any reduction or offset as a result of the Workers’ Compensation settlement.

Claimant, a 36 year old man, suffered a right wrist fracture while employed with American Railcar Industries. As a result of Claimant’s forearm injury, Claimant received weekly benefits of $932.00 a week. Claimant returned to work without restrictions and continued to work in his pre-injury job with only minor modification. The employer attempted to terminate Claimant’s benefit entitlement and Schemery Zicolello represented the Claimant successfully in overcoming the termination. Thereafter Schemery Zicolello negotiated a settlement on behalf of the Claimant for $224,000.00 in exchange for a compromise and release of Claimant’s future wage loss and medical expenses.

Claimant was employed by a manufacturing entity in Tioga County and suffered a low back strain as a result of a lifting incident. Claimant had a long history of pre-existing lumbar degenerative changes and had undergone at least one prior surgery. The employer filed a Petition to Terminate Claimant’s benefits based on an Independent Medical Evaluation that had found that Claimant had fully recovered. The Claimant was represented by Schemery Zicolello and prior to the Judge’s Decision being issued, the parties, after mandatory mediation, resolved the claim for $171,695.00 for a full compromise and release of benefits.