Boxer & Gerson’s Dikla Dolev secured a $3.25 million settlement last week for a man whose forklift fell off a truck while he was working in 2002. The now 64-year-old Vallejo man has suffered ever since with intractable back and neck pain and catastrophic results from a subsequent failed surgery in 2007.
After the surgery, the $499 weekly workers’ compensation check he had been living on was reduced to $150 a week as his employer’s insurance company decided to contest the extent of its client’s liability for the permanent disability caused by the injury.
“This is one of the saddest cases I have ever come across,” says Dolev, who took the case on in August 2016. Boxer & Gerson co-founder Stewart Boxer and Partner Dennis Popalardo had represented the man in previous phases of the case stretching back 15 years.
“The man is essentially paralyzed from the waist down and in terrible pain, his livelihood gone, fighting depression, going in and out of facilities trying to find some solution. Just miserable. No one would trade for his circumstances for $3.25 million or any amount. I just hope he can live out his days in some kind of comfort.”
The case had wound its way through the workers’ comp system in the kind of slow-moving timeline that can occur when arduous rehabilitation programs prove fruitless, surgical efforts fail, and insurance companies mount a vigorous defense attempting to deflect responsibility and limit the amount of compensation due to a victim.
Three years ago, the insurance company offered a $1.2 million settlement, then firmly rejected the $2 million counteroffer Boxer & Gerson had proffered on behalf of its client.
“He essentially has a lifetime pension that will now allow him some peace and access to the care he will always need,” says Dolev. “We don’t see benefits like this very often in workers’ comp cases. It takes a really bad injury to get to this point, but anyone seeing him would understand. This was a very emotional case and settlement conference. It was hard not to take it home with me, so I’m just gratified we were able to win him at least a good financial outcome.”