Truck Driver Finally Settles, Years After TBI Claim

Toni Sutton-Deangelico

Middletown, CT (WorkersCompensation.com) – 35-year-old truck driver Jairo Solis has settled his workers’ compensation claim with the city of Middletown, Conn., for $2 million. Negotiations between Jolis’ attorney Megan Woods and the city had stalled for years due to arguments over the ‘coming and going rule.’

Solis sustained a traumatic brain injury in December 2013 after being involved in a one-car crash on an icy road after leaving work. Solis had been called into work for an emergency that had been related to what caused his accident; snow and ice on the roads. He officially filed a workers’ compensation claim six months later, in July 2014.

“The City of Middletown did not want to pay the claim as they believed that he did not meet the criteria of the emergency call exception to the coming and going rule in Connecticut’s workers’ compensation claims that normally precludes coverage for an injury on the way into or on your way home from work,” Woods told WorkersCompensation.com.

The rules state that workers’ compensation ddoes not cover city employees, except firefighters and police, who have sustained injuries to and from their place of employment. Woods argued that Solis fell under an exception to the rule that’s in place. The emergency-call exceptions declare that if an employee is called into work to respond to an emergency from said employer, that would qualify the employee for workers’ compensation. The city argued that it was not mandatory for Solis to respond to the emergency that day.

The Connecticut Appellate Court had been scheduled to hear oral arguments regarding this case next month. Woods said she believes the city agreed to the $2 million settlement because it realized that it would have ended up losing in court. “They acknowledged we had a very high level of prevailing at the appellate level,” she said in a news release.

Solis had earned approximately $52,000 annually when he was employed, and attorneys factored in compensation by calculating how much he would have made for the rest of his estimated natural life. They arrived at the amount of about $1.1 million and then estimated in medical expenses of more than $900,000.

Since the accident Solis has been living with his parents, as he has speech difficulties as well as movement impairment and other long-term effects stemming from the TBI. He needs assistance when showering and preparing his meals, and is not able to drive, but “is independent” noted his attorney.

“Mr. Solis is very happy to be able to move forward with his life after this long journey,” Woods told WorkersCompensation.com. “This settlement will allow him to finally accomplish his dreams, and of course will provide for his future, both financially and medically. For me, that was the most rewarding moment of my career, knowing that despite the obstacles, we overcame them and have truly given Jairo a fresh start. I know he will do great things going forward.”

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