A Georgia-based workplace staffing company has agreed to pay one of its employees $700,000 after he suffered a head injury during a forklift accident.
Dexter Masters, 26, was operating a forklift at a BMW dealership in Greenville in 2015when another forklift driver crashed into him. The wreck caused one of the forklifts to strike Masters’ head, causing him to suffer a traumatic brain injury, as well as shoulder and neck injuries.
Masters filed a claim with the state Workers’ Compensation Commission. During the proceedings, Masters’ attorney, Greenville solo practitioner Ryan Montgomery, argued his client should receive lifetime benefits and medical care.
Under South Carolina law, workers who suffer permanent injuries during the course of employment are entitled to receive a maximum of 500 weeks of benefits.
However, an employee may be entitled to weekly compensation and medical care for the rest of his or her life if he or she can show a traumatic brain injury with physical damage to the brain during the course of his employment, that the injury resulted in severe and permanent impairment of normal brain function and that the worker cannot return to any type of employment.
Montgomery’s medical expert, Martin Dolan of Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital, was able to show Masters’ injuries met the first two criteria. But Masters was not far enough along to show he could not return to any type of employment, Dolan said.
Even without lifetime benefits, Montgomery said his client was pleased with the settlement. Masters continue to require neuropsychological care, which has been a strain on his wife and two small children. Masters has since moved to Virginia to be closer to family.
“The settlement will be a big help to his family, and they were very pleased with the result,” Montgomery said.
SETTLEMENT REPORT – WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
Injuries alleged: Traumatic brain injury
Case name: Masters v. MAU, Inc.
Court: South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission
Date of settlement: March 13, 2017
Attorney for plaintiff: Ryan Montgomery, Greenville solo practitioner
Attorney for defendant: Stephanie Pugh, McAngus Goudelock & Courie in Greenville