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312-425-3131

10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60603

211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2, Normal, IL 61761

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Noah P. Hamann was successful in limiting a head injury case to a laceration only

Noah P. Hamann was successful in limiting a head injury case to a laceration only as opposed to the two cervical surgeries that were sought by the petitioner. The defense was victorious at arbitration, on review before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and before the Union County Circuit Court.

There was no dispute that on May 22, 2012, petitioner was injured while turning a large wrench. The wrench gave way and struck the petitioner on his head. The petitioner sustained a laceration and required several staples. He did complain of neck pain on the date of accident, but a CT scan was normal as was petitioner’s physical exam.

Petitioner alleged that over the next few months his neck pain began to gradually worsen. He claimed that he was not a complainer and that he tried to work through the pain, but eventually his pain became so bad, he sought treatment with a neurosurgeon in October 2013. The neurosurgeon diagnosed the petitioner with spondylosis and foraminal stenosis of the cervical spine.

On March 14, 2014, the petitioner underwent a laminectomy. The petitioner had immediate complications and on March 18, 2014, he underwent a microdiscectomy. In October 2015, petitioner was discharged from care. Petitioner testified that he felt it was necessary to retire from his job due to ongoing complaints of neck pain.

The defense thoroughly investigated the petitioner’s history. It was discovered that despite petitioner’s allegation that he had been experiencing neck pain ever since the work accident, there was no treatment whatsoever for the neck for more than a year following the accident. In that time, the petitioner saw doctors for unrelated conditions, but made no neck complaints. Likewise, when the petitioner did begin complaining of neck pain, those complaints directly coincided with a fainting episode at the petitioner’s home.

Additionally, discussions were had with the insured business owner. Following the work accident, the petitioner continued working full duty in a heavy position up until his surgery in 2014. He never made any complaints at work nor did he have any difficulty performing his duties.

The parties took the deposition of the treating physician. During direct examination from opposing counsel, the treater testified that the work accident aggravated a pre-existing condition and led to the need for the surgeries. However, on cross, the treater conceded that he had limited knowledge of the petitioner’s medical history, he was unaware of the petitioner’s fainting episode at home and he was unaware that the petitioner had been working full duty since the work accident. When confronted with the missing facts, the treater conceded that his causation opinion could change.

As a safety precaution, the respondent obtained a records review from orthopedic surgeon, Dr. David Lange. Dr. Lange found that the petitioner’s condition was age-related (72 years old) and that the work accident did not cause an aggravation as evidenced by the lack of complaints or treatment for over a year after the accident.

Prior to trial, petitioner resisted all settlement talks. Petitioner sought full trial value, which was up to 25% of a person ($80,265.50), 55 & 5/7 weeks of TTD ($28,393.11), $164,831.70 in medical bills, plus a Medicare Set Aside, which would have been in excess of six figures given the petitioner’s complicated treatment and complaints.

The case was tried before Arbitrator Melinda Rowe Sullivan. She largely adopted the proposed decision from the defense. She limited the petitioner’s compensable injury to a scalp laceration. She found no causal connection between the accident and the cervical surgeries. She noted the concessions made during the treating doctor’s deposition as well as the lack of any treatment for over a year after the accident. She awarded only 2% person as a whole or $4,586.60.

The arbitrator’s decision was unanimously affirmed by the IWCC. Petitioner appealed to the Circuit Court. Attorney Farrah Hagan successfully handled oral arguments and the defense prevailed on appeal. In the end, the arbitrator’s decision was never changed and the defense paid only 2% of a person, which was roughly 1% of the total sought by the petitioner.

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-425-3131
211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-862-4914
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