Attorney Jim Monast with his workers' compensation client Amy

For years, beginning around October, catalogs have arrived in the mail advertising holiday gift baskets. Sugarbush, Hickory Farms (love their summer sausage!), Sugar Plum, Cheryl’s Cookies … Yum!

I get lots of these at home, but I get even more at my office. Corporate gifts are still a thing, although I think that noticeably declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s nice to give an annual “thinking of you and appreciating your hard work” to doctors’ and lawyers’ offices we work with, among others. We associate these things with happy seasons of the year.

Harry & David has been around for years. I thought they just did fruit baskets, but it turns out that they have chocolate, cookies, and even flowers! Who’d a-thunk it’s a place where on-the-job injuries can happen?!

Our dear friend and client, Amy, worked there as a line inspector. She was born in Columbus, raised in Obetz, and met her husband Steve at work. While packing apples, one fell. As she turned to get it, she slipped on one of those pieces of wax paper used to separate the fruit, and fell, injuring her back and herniating a disc in her lower back!

Having never had back problems, she hoped it would quickly heal. But it worsened, requiring lots of hearings and even more treatment. She had physical therapy, injections, a TNS unit, and medications, but her pain and limitations have persisted. Steve now prepares the meals and does the yardwork while their daughters do most of the housework. (I’ve seen her daughters grow from kiddos to young women over the years as they’ve helped their mom when she had hearings at the Industrial Commission). She needs a cane to walk and a motorized cart to shop.

When it recently became clear that even the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation doctors agree Amy could lift no more than two pounds and can barely stand or walk, let alone sustain one position for a significant length of time, we filed for permanent total disability. The BWC then offered to settle Amy's workers' compensation claim. After lengthy discussions, and lots of thought and prayers, she did so.

Neither being granted permanent total disability nor settling a claim magically heals someone … but it can help ease some of the financial burden associated with a work injury.

We expect to keep in touch with Amy and Steve as their family moves forward (they now have three grandbabies, too!). Our relationships with our clients, our friends, don’t end when their claim does. And this is happy news at any time of year!

James Monast
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Board-Certified Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Columbus, Ohio