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16-year-old settles over fall off roof, severe injuries: $3 million settlement

By: S.C. Lawyers Weekly staff//July 18, 2023

16-year-old settles over fall off roof, severe injuries: $3 million settlement

By: S.C. Lawyers Weekly staff//July 18, 2023

Action: Workers’ compensation

Injuries alleged: Brain injury, incomplete paraplegia, injuries to neck, back, internal organs, arms and legs

Case name: Withheld

Court/case no.: South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission

Mediator: Lana Sims

Amount: $3 million

Date: Feb. 6, 2023

Attorneys: David T. Pearlman and Adam P. Greene of Steinberg Law Firm, Charleston and Goose Creek (for the plaintiff)

On March 28, 2022, a 16-year-old Honduran national was working on the roof of a three-story private residence in Myrtle Beach, cleaning up shingles without a harness. He fell more than 30 feet to the cement below.

He was rushed to Grand Strand Regional Hospital, with injuries involving his brain and spinal cord resulting in debilitating injuries requiring lifelong care. He was hospitalized for about three months.

The teenager’s claim was denied by three employers, all of which denied he was their employee. After his hospitalization, he has received no medical treatment or weekly benefits. Fortunately, his aunt and uncle took him into their small mobile home.

The case faced multiple hurdles, including denial by three employers and their insurance companies that the injured worker was an employee, complex questions surrounding his immigration status and the fact he is a minor, his mother and father’s desire to bring him back to Honduras and the tragic death of his uncle who was taking care of him.

The settlement included three insurance companies, with one providing $1.5 million and the other two companies agreeing to $750,000 each toward the total $3 million settlement.

This complicated case included many depositions, Spanish interpreters and how to best serve and protect the interest of the minor and allow him to return home to be with his family.

The settlement will provide living expenses and medical rehabilitation treatment so he can return to his mother and father in Honduras. The settlement required the establishment of a pooled minor’s trust with the ability to be administered internationally to ensure protection of the settlement proceeds and to allow for disbursement of funds for the young man’s care once he returns to his parents in Honduras.

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