Raleigh, North Carolina — Attorney Jackson Hardison, a partner at Hardison & Cochran, obtained a $3.5 million settlement in a workers’ compensation case for a man who was paralyzed in a tree cutting accident and whose workers’ compensation claim was initially denied, Hardison & Cochran announced. The legal newspaper North Carolina Lawyers Weekly recognized the settlement as the 12th largest in North Carolina in 2015.
Mr. Hardison, who is a Board Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law, took the workers’ compensation case after every insurance company involved had denied the injured tree cutter’s workers’ compensation claim and his previous attorney had told the man that he did not have a valid case.
“This was a rescue case—my client had been told by the attorney who represented him before I did that he didn’t have a case,” Mr. Hardison told N.C. Lawyers Weekly. “I am truly happy that my client was able to get the settlement he needed to be able to take care of himself and his medical care.”
In 2008, the man was working for a landscaping and tree service company, clearing trees near Mebane, North Carolina to make way for a railroad. He cut several trees that were leaning together against another tree. All the trees fell when he cut them except one. The tree cutter was unaware that only vines were holding up the remaining tree. When the vines gave way, the tree fell and struck the man, causing a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
The injured tree cutter filed a workers’ compensation claim to pay for his medical care. But the landscape company claimed that the injured man was an independent contractor rather than an employee and not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The insurance companies representing the contractor and subcontractors denied his injury claim.
Mr. Hardison investigated the accident on behalf of the injured man and identified all the potentially liable parties and their insurance companies. He brought claims against the general contractor as well as several subcontractors involved in the project and their insurance companies. The client’s previous attorney had not filed claims against several of the subcontractors.
The North Carolina Industrial Commission, which hears workers’ compensation cases, eventually ruled that the tree cutter was an employee, therefore eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
The case was argued before the North Carolina Court of Appeals in March 2015. Mr. Hardison was able to negotiate settlements with two insurance companies and resolve the case before the appeals court issued a ruling.
“I’m privileged to be able to use my legal skills to help injured workers get the workers’ compensation benefits that they deserve and make a difference in their lives,” Mr. Hardison said.
Hardison & Cochran was named among the “Best Law Firms” in the 2015 edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers.
Click here to view the full press release.