Metalworker tears rotator cuff while moving equipment
The 52-year-old plaintiff sheet metal worker was struck and knocked over by a piece of ductwork, which had been caught by the wind, and sustained a shoulder injury. The plaintiff continued to work light duty over the next couple of weeks until his shoulder gave way when trying to hand a very light piece of equipment to a coworker. He then sought medical treatment. The plaintiff was diagnosed with a strain and partial tear of his rotator cuff in his right dominant shoulder. He was treated conservatively but developed a chronic pain problem which was treated by a variety of medications. He subsequently developed anxiety and depression, as well as a dependency on the prescribed medications. Approximately one year following the accident, the plaintiff lost his balance and was not able to catch himself, due to his shoulder injury, and sustained an injury to his knee which required surgery. Due to his pain, anxiety, depression and the many medications that were required to control his conditions, the plaintiff’s wife became his caregiver. Although the plaintiff had received a lump sum workers’ compensation payment, he remained on significant medications, which were paid by the workers’ compensation carrier.
After mediation, the plaintiffs’ claims were settled for a combined total of $550,000 with a waiver of any workers’ compensation lien rights the carrier may have had. Half of the settlement ‘ $275,000 ‘ was allocated to the loss of consortium claim and the remaining half was allocated to the plaintiff’s primary claim. The workers’ compensation carrier preserved its rights to offset future medical payments for the plaintiff under Hunter v. Midwest Coast Transportation, Inc., 400 Mass. 779 (1987).
Type of action: Negligence & tort
Injuries alleged: Strain and partial tear of rotator cuff, chronic pain syndrome, depression, anxiety
Name of case: Withheld
Court/case #: Withheld
Tried before judge or jury: N/A (mediated)
Amount of settlement: $550,000
Date: March 20, 2005
Attorney: Mark D. Warcup, Keches & Mallen, Taunton (for the plaintiff)