Ridge & Downes - Law Firm

  • Police Office Tears Shoulder

    We recently settled a case on behalf on an injured police sergeant from western Illinois who sustained two injuries in the line of duty. The sergeant sustained a labral tear in his shoulder while restraining a suspect. After returning to full duty work, the sergeant sustained a second injury attempting to rescue passengers from a fatal motor vehicle accident. While doing so, he was thrown off the top of a van, fracturing his left ankle. The fall also caused him to be impaled with a foreign body, causing permanent injury. The sergeant’s ankle injury did not recover to the extent necessary for him to return to full duty as a police officer. We were able to negotiate a settlement of 45% loss of use of the person as a whole to compensate the sergeant for the loss of his usual and customary employment.




  • Teacher Has Two Accidents and Settles for $100,000

    A 52-year-old school teacher was involved in two separate accidents during the course of her employment.  Initially, Petitioner fell at work and twisted her knee. She was treated conservatively, both with physical therapy and cortisone injections. Neither of these helped, and Petitioner continued to have ongoing pain and discomfort in the knee. Her physician was concerned that she may be suffering from a displaced lateral meniscus tear and recommended arthroscopy surgery to explore the situation further.  During the arthroscopy, her surgeon did not find anything that required repair.  She continued with physical therapy and eventually improved sufficiently to return to work full duty. She was back at work for approximately two months when she had her second accident. On that occasion, she was dismissing her students from their class and in the rush to leave the classroom one of her students knocked her to the ground. She sustained injuries to her lower back on this occasion. Her initial treatment consisted of extensive physical therapy and pain management, but due to ongoing complaints of pain and discomfort, Petitioner was referred for surgery.  An L4/L5 laminectomy and transforaminal interbody fusion was carried out.  Petitioner did well after surgery and was released to return to work full duty. Petitioner was paid all workers’ compensation benefits due to her for the period of time she was absent from work. Both cases settled for $101,918.00 which figure represented a 27.5% loss of use of the person as a whole with respect of the back injury and a 22.5% loss of use of the leg with respect of the knee injury. All related medical expenses were also paid by Respondent. 



  • Officer Injured Making Arrest Receives Back-pay, Medical Treatment, and Settlement

    A 31-year-old police officer injured his knee when he was tackled while attempting to arrest a suspect. He was originally diagnosed with a sprain and treated conservatively, but after that treatment failed the treating doctor recommended an arthroscopy of the knee.  During the arthroscopy, it was found that he did in fact have a torn plica.  Following surgery, Petitioner developed Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in the injured leg. He was required to undergo a course of medication to treat the DVT. He will be required to be monitored with regard to the DVT issue for the rest of his life.  Petitioner was absent from work primarily during the recovery of the surgery and during the treatment of the DVT.  He received all his workers’ compensation benefits for all periods of lost time.  He was returned to full duty work and continues his occupation as a police officer.  The case settled for 25% loss of use of the leg or $29,592.60 together with payment of all related medical bills relating to both the knee condition and the subsequent development of DVT. 



  • CNA Lifting Patient Suffers Back Strain

    A 30-year-old hospital worker injured her lumbar spine while transporting a patient by wheelchair.  She was referred for physical therapy and advised to take prescribed pain medications.  She attended physical therapy for 4 months and was placed on a light duty restriction at work for 5 months. She thereafter returned to work full duty. This case settled for a 3% loss of use of man as a whole ($4,290.00) together with payment of any outstanding and related medical bill. 




  • Steel Worker Has Two Accidents and Settles for $175,000

    A steelworker was involved in two separate work related accidents 9 months apart. In the first accident, which occurred in January of 2007, he was pulling a sheet of steel materials when he felt a pain in his right shoulder. He was treated initially at the company clinic, and was placed on light duty. He was diagnosed with impingement syndrome in the right shoulder and advised to treat conservatively. Due to ongoing symptoms, he eventually underwent an arthroscopy and acromioplasty of the right shoulder. He was off work for approximately 6 months as a result of this injury.

    On his return to work and in October of 2007 he was involved in another incident while pulling heavy sheets of steel and felt numbness in his hands. He was treated by the company clinic initially and given a diagnosis of tendonitis in the cervical region. He sought treatment from his own doctor and due to failure of conservative treatment was advised to undergo a cervical fusion. In September of 2010 he underwent anterior cervical discectomy at levels C5-6 and C6-7 together with decompression of the spinal cord and nerve roots. 

    Petitioner had been laid off from his job in October of 2008 while he was out on workers compensation benefits and so he remained in receipt of TTD from the initial accident date through the settlement of his claim. He was placed at MMI with permanent restrictions that his employer could not accommodate.

    Both cases settled on a disputed basis for $175,000.00.  Medical bills related to the treatment were paid. Petitioner received his TTD benefits through the date of contract approval. 




  • 23-Year-Old Injures Back and Receives Nearly $50,000

    A 23-year-old warehouse worker was injured when transporting a dolly of beers down a ramp. As the beer was not secured properly on the dolly, Petitioner had to stretch and jerk himself forward to avoid the collapse of the beers off the dolly and felt a sudden pop in his back. He noticed immediate pain and was taken to the emergency room.  He was treated conservatively with physical therapy and cortisone injections. When his symptoms did not improve, he was advised that surgery was necessary. This surgery was considered a last resort because Petitioner was so young.  Petitioner underwent partial hemilaminectomy at L4-5 and L5-S1.  Petitioner was off work for 8 months, after which he was released to return to work with a permanent 100-pound lifting restriction.    The case settled for 40% loss of use of man as a whole ($43,200.00). 



  • Pipefitter Forced to Retire after Shoulder Injury; Settles for Wage Differential of $250,000

    A 62-year-old Pipefitter sustained a labral tear of the left shoulder using a pro press.  Following physical therapy, he was placed on permanent restrictions of the medium physical demand level.  According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, a pipefitter must be able to perform at a heavy physical demand level and lift up to 100 pounds, but Petitioner could not lift more than 50 pounds.  Petitioner had to retire from his local union.  With his permanent restrictions, Petitioner found a job earning only $15.00/hour.  His wage differential was settled for $250,000.00



  • Nurse Hurts Her Back Lifting Patient

    A correctional center nurse injured her low back transferring an inmate.  She was off work for almost a year undergoing physical therapy and injections before being able to return to her former position.  The case was settled for 6.5% loss of use of the person as a whole.



  • Trooper Receives Settlement After Tear in His Wrist

    53-year-old Illinois State Trooper suffered a tear to his wrist lifting attack gear.  Petitioner underwent surgical repair, but continued to have post-operative problems requiring injections.  A second procedure was performed.  Petitioner continues to require a brace for his wrist on a daily basis.  The case was settled for 25% loss of use of the hand.



  • City Clerk Receives Settlement and Medical Bills After Slip and Fall

    City clerk slipped and fell on icy stairs outside of her workplace, injuring her low back, tailbone, and fracturing her right middle finger.  An MRI revealed a disc herniation in her lumbar spine, causing numbness and tingling down her bilateral legs.  Physical therapy was able to resolve these symptoms.  The right middle finger fracture was treated with therapy and splinting.  After extensive negotiations, the case was settled for 15.5% loss of use of the right middle finger and 5% loss of use of the person as a whole, as well as payment of over $7,000.00 in outstanding medical bills.



  • Truck Driver Involved in Rollover is Awarded Compensation and Medical For Life

    A truck driver was injured in a roll-over crash.  Petitioner was removed from the truck by the fire department and transported to Loyola University Medical Center.  The accident resulted in a 4-5 cm laceration about the elbow, which was contaminated with debris and probing to deep bone and tendon.

    An MRI of the left elbow revealed a full-thickness triceps tendon tear with retraction and multiple foreign bodies in the wound.

    Petitioner underwent surgery in the form of irrigation and debridement of traumatic laceration of the triceps tendon, primary triceps tendon repair, and foreign body (gravel) removal.

    Petitioner underwent 10 weeks of post-operative rehabilitation, and was off work for 3 months as a result of his injury.

    Petitioner continues to experience numbness about the wound site and has retained suture material causing irritation.  Respondent’s examining physician agreed Petitioner has persistent limitations in elbow function and may require a future surgical procedure to remove the suture material.

    Initially, the insurance carrier offered 10% loss of use of the arm to resolve Petitioner’s claim.  Defense counsel was brought on, and the offer was increased to 15% loss of use of the arm.  This settlement would have closed out Petitioner’s right to future medical treatment, so the case was tried to obtain higher value and open medical rights for Petitioner’s life.  The Arbitrator awarded 25% loss of use of the arm, or $24,389.83, and Petitioner will have the opportunity to undergo suture material removal in the future if he chooses to do so. 

    Respondent appealed the Arbitrator’s decision to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.  Pending appeal, Respondent offered 15% loss of use of the arm and $2,500.00 for future medical expenses.  Petitioner rejected the offer and the appeal continued.  The Commission affirmed and adopted the Arbitrator’s award of 25% loss of use of the arm and open medical rights for life.

    By proceeding to trial, our firm was able to increase the permanent partial disability benefits by $9,755.93, as well as ensure that Petitioner’s future medical expenses will be the responsibility of Respondent.



  • Packer Twists Knee and Tears ACL

    A 46-year-old order packer sustained a twisting injury to her knee while packing an order.  Petitioner underwent a left knee anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with micro-fracture of the medial femoral condyle.  Petitioner continues to experience residual pain and must minimize stair climbing, squatting, and kneeling.  After receiving TTD benefits for her time off work and having her medical bills paid, Petitioner’s claim was settled for 30.86% loss of use of the left leg, or $28,000.00.



  • Bounced Around Truck Driver Receives Settlement for Neck

    Petitioner was a 64-year-old truck driver who was forced to drive a truck with a defective seat causing her to be bounced about in the truck and injure her neck area. Petitioner did have symptoms of pre-existing degenerative arthritis, but her doctors opined that her work-related activity of driving the truck with a defective seat had aggravated her pre-existing symptoms to a point where they became symptomatic. The case was settled for 10% loss of use of Person as a Whole ($33,236.00) together with all payment of related medical bills. Petitioner had retired by the time this office took on her case so TTD for lost time was not an issue. 



  • Truck Driver Descends Ladder and Injures Foot

    59-year-old truck driver injured his foot while he was descending a ladder. He was diagnosed with a fracture of the distal tibia and was off work for four months.  Case settled for 11% loss of use of the foot ($10,882.02) and all medical bills and all lost time was paid by Respondent.



  • Dock Worker Injures Hip and Awarded Medical Benefits for Life

    Petitioner is a 42-year-old dock worker/spotter who sustained injuries to his right hip when he fell while carrying ladders during the course of his employment.  Due to failure of conservative treatment, Petitioner eventually underwent surgery in the form of a femoral osteoplasty of the right hip.  He was off work for 7 months.  This case was accepted and all medical bills and TTD due to Petitioner were paid.  However, this case had to be tried before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission because Petitioner’s doctors had advised him that in the future he would likely need a total hip replacement and therefore this office tried the case in order to make sure that the Petitioner’s medical rights in respect of this case were left open for life.

     

    At trial, the Arbitrator opined that Petitioner had sustained a 30% loss of use of his right leg and awarded the Petitioner $34,113.41 for the permanent effects of his injury.  All medical bills were paid and as indicated the Petitioner’s medical rights in relation to his injury remain open for life in this case.



  • Airline Fueler Injures Shoulder Lifting Hose

    Petitioner is a 29-year-old fueler for an airline company.  In October of 2010, she was pulling a very heavy fueling hose when she sustained injuries to her arm/shoulder area.  She was initially treated conservatively, but due to non-improvement of her symptoms she underwent arthroscopic surgery together with subacromial decompression of her right shoulder. Thereafter, she underwent a rigorous program of physical therapy and work hardening/conditioning.  She was placed on light duty prior to the surgery and was unable to work while undergoing therapy and work hardening.  She was returned to work with no restrictions in June of 2011. The case settled for 25% loss of use of the arm ($13,622.00) and a sum of $1,199.40 was also paid to the Petitioner because she had been underpaid while she was working her light duty.  All medical bills were also paid by Respondent in this case.



  • Electrician Fractures Foot and Settles for $20,000+

    39-year-old electrician injured his ankle on a job site as he was forced to walk over uneven ground.  He was diagnosed with a fracture of the ankle, placed in a cast and underwent a program of physical therapy.  He was off work for four months and received all TTD benefits during this time.  Case settled for 20% loss of use of the foot ($22,201.64), together with payment of all outstanding medical bills.



  • Factory Worker Sustains Hernia after Lifting

    A 58-year-old factory worker suffered a hernia while lifting. His claim settled for 3% loss of man as a whole. He was paid temporary total disability benefits and his medical bills were paid in full.



  • Aggravation of Tennis Elbow Receives Settlement

    49-year-old municipal worker settled claim alleging aggravation of pre-existing epicondylitis for 2% of arm.



  • Airline Worker Lifts Package and Suffers Back Strain

    Petitioner is an airline ramp service worker that sustained an injury to his back after lifting a heavy package.  He underwent two months of physical therapy treatment for his injury.  He treated with his primary care doctor. As both the x-ray and MRI were negative for any damage to his back, he was diagnosed with a back sprain.  His case settled for 3% loss of use of man as a whole as well as payment of all medical bills and temporary total disability benefits.



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