Minor Brain Injury/Headaches - $1,000,000

Injuries alleged: Minor Brain Injury/Headaches

Tried before judge or jury (or mediation): Mediation

Special Damages: Worker's Compensation lien of $204,760.05 including $ 48,775. 64 medical expenses

Amount (specify award or settlement): $1,000,000.00 plus a reduction of $150,652.43 of the
worker's compensation lien.

Date (of verdict or settlement): December 13, 2004

Highest Offer: $1,000,000.00

Attorney for plaintiff(s) and city of office: Kenneth I. Kolpan
Law Office of Kenneth I. Kolpan, P.C.
100 Summer Street
Boston, Ma. 02110

Other useful information:

On May 1, 2000, plaintiff, a forty-one year old welder and father of one was leaving a job site at the GE plant in Lynn, Massachusetts where he was struck in the head by a high pressure steel cable knit hose weighing in excess of 150 pounds which broke loose from an unsecured coupling. At the time of the incident, the defendant's employees were using the high pressure hose system to line water pipes with epoxy. Plaintiff was momentarily unconscious and sustained an "egg sized" lump to his forehead and a one inch laceration.

Plaintiff was treated at Union Hospital and released within hours. Plaintiff was seen the next day at a local community hospital in Hamilton, New York complaining of headaches and back pain. Though plaintiff was first cleared to return to work in a limited capacity, he was unable to work due to headaches and difficulty with concentration. Plaintiff was diagnosed with Post Concussion Syndrome.

Plaintiff had had a serious brain injury over eighteen years ago at which time he suffered from cerebral spinal fluid leaks. Plaintiff had recovered from his earlier brain injury working as a pipe welder and having won state weight lifting competitions.

However, within weeks of plaintiff's May 1, 2000 incident, plaintiff again sought treatment for clear fluid nasal discharge, signifying possible cerebral spinal fluid leak. The cerebral spinal fluid was not confirmed by objective testing. Defendant contended that any cerebral spinal fluid leak was due to pre existing traumatic brain injury.

Months after the incident, plaintiff developed frequent and disabling headaches. At times, plaintiff was rushed to emergency rooms for pain medication injections. He continued to receive pain medications for his unremitting medications. Unfortunately, plaintiff's reliance on pain medications became so severe that he required in patient hospitalization detoxification treatment.

At the time of settlement and despite four years of treatment, plaintiff remains totally and permanently disabled. He continues to be treated for chronic headaches.

Suit was brought against the general contractor alleging that the defendant failed to use a safety cable to prevent the high pressure hose from flailing if the coupling failed. Defendant's employee testified that there had been four other incidents over a period of ten years where a coupling failed. The failure to use a safety cable was a violation of the defendant company's own safety policy.

Though plaintiff sustained what is medically called a "minor" brain injury, he was rendered totally and permanently disabled by its neurological sequelae. Diagnostic testing such as x-ray, CT scan did not demonstrate any physical injury.

Defendant contested liability claiming that the plaintiff went in to a work area that had caution tape and cones. Defendant disputed whether or not plaintiff was wearing a safety helmet, as required.

Defendant disputed the severity of plaintiff's claimed brain injury. Defendant contended that plaintiff's CSF leak preexisted and that the plaintiff's headaches were treatable.

Defendant was prepared to offer expert testimony by a neuropsychologist and neurologist that the plaintiff's disability was due to his malingering. Defendant alleged that the plaintiff's depression, if any, was treatable. Defendant's experts also opined that the plaintiff's disability was due to his poor effort and inappropriate medical treatments.

Case was settled in the amount of $1,000,000.00 after two days of mediation.