Posted On: December 23, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Court Upholds $70 Million in Workers’ Compensation Case Against Insurer

A court has affirmed the $70 million award plus interest that a jury awarded to Charles Tate in the workers’ compensation case he filed against Discovery Property Insurance Company, his employer’s insurer, and JI Specialty Services Inc., a claims adjuster.

Tate, a maintenance mechanic, sustained serious shoulder and neck injuries when he fell from a ladder while trimming trees at an apartment complex in 2003. Following the work accident, Tate was no longer able to engage in manual labor. He filed for workers’ compensation benefits from Discover. Six times the state Department of Insurance’s workers’ compensation unit agreed that the insurer needed to pay for Tate's retraining so he could become a real estate agent.

The insurer turned down two of his requests for supplemental income benefits. Tate succeeded in contesting the case, but the insurer appealed to the state’s workers’ compensation appeals panel, which affirmed that the maintenance worker was entitled to second and third quarter supplemental income benefits. In June, a District Court ordered the case back to trial court.

Earlier this month, a jury awarded Tate $70 million: $50 million in damages, $20 million in attorneys fees, $491,000 in prejudgment interest, and $2.5 million for court costs and legal fees if the case is appealed. The jury found that because the Discovery delayed paying Tate for rehabilitative job training, the maintenance mechanic suffered mental anguish. The jury also found that both defendants engaged in a deceptive and unfair act.

Texas Court Allows $70M Judgment in Workers' Comp Case to Stand, Insurance Journal, December 16, 2009

Hurt worker is awarded $70 million, My San Antonio News, December 2, 2009

Related Web Resource:
Your Right to Workers' Comp Benefits FAQ, Nolo

Illinois Workers Compensation Commission

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