This past week, the legal community has been abuzz over what is purported to be one of the largest workers' compensation settlements ever reached in the state of California.
According to reports, the State Compensation Insurance Fund -- which accounts for a significant share of the work comp market and provides insurance to those employers unable to secure it elsewhere -- reached an $8.9 million settlement in a case involving a young man who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) back in 2004 at the age of 18.
Specifically, Antonio E. was working as a painter when he fell from a 20-foot scaffolding and struck his head. The TBI left him suffering from a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, cognitive defects, depression, multiple personality disorder, psychosis and self-mutilation.
He was initially placed in a daytime rehab facility and otherwise left in the care of his father. However, his father encountered caretaking problems over the course time and found his own job endangered. Consequently, Antonio E. was placed in a full-time rehab facility.
Here, the settlement reached by Christopher Asvar, Antonio E.'s attorney, and the State Compensation Insurance Fund (hereinafter State Fund) was likely so large because Antonio E. is still so young and will likely require extensive medical care for the remainder of his life.
However, Asvar also indicated that the settlement will not only end up saving State Fund significant money, but will also greatly benefit Antonio E. and his father.
"It could have been double over his lifetime," he said. "I think if left to their own devices, the father would have been run down and the son would have been abandoned."
Interestingly, State Fund employees are working to determine if the $8.9 million settlement is indeed the largest workers' compensation settlement in agency history.
As it turns out, settlement amounts in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars are not uncommon given the high number of big employers and high-risk business insured by the agency.
"It's pretty darned large," said Emily Gorin, a State Fund spokesperson, of the Antonio E. settlement. "I think it would be safe to say that this is among our biggest cases."
It should be noted that work comp settlements in California are not tracked by size.
Stay tuned for further updates in the area of workers' compensation law from our San Diego firm ...
If you have questions or would like to learn more about workers' compensation benefits, contact an experienced legal professional.
This post was for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Names have been withheld to protect the identity of the parties.
Insurance Journal, "Lawyer claims highest known workers' comp settlement in California history" March 7, 2012