OCIP/CCIP Joint-Defense Program
Goldberg Segalla has been a partner to clients in the construction industry since the firm’s inception. Because of the combination of our experience in construction catastrophic injury and New York Labor Law litigation, the bench strength of our Workers’ Compensation practice, and the firm’s distinctively collaborative culture, clients consistently tap Goldberg Segalla to provide comprehensive defense and legal counsel on their large-scale OCIP and CCIP construction projects.
By partnering with clients from the outset of a project, we have developed proactive legal solutions to mitigate risks, limit liability, lower the client’s legal spending, and protect OCIP/CCIP loss funds—making an impact on each project’s bottom line.
Because our clients face risks and liabilities for both worksite accident/New York Labor Law and workers’ compensation claims—proceeding on very different timelines—we offer a coordinated defense from the outset, which results in significant savings and more efficient and favorable resolutions.
Our General Liability and Workers’ Compensation litigators mobilize at the inception of an accident or incident, deploying all of the necessary investigative resources and developing a coordinated defense strategy for overlapping claims. This collaboration makes a critical difference at many stages throughout the litigation process.
Hallmarks of the GS Joint-Defense Program
- Gathering medical records, deposition transcripts, trial transcripts, and other intel within six months of an accident to litigate the workers’ compensation claim—which means our team has a leg up on any subsequent liability litigation.
- Uncovering new information through the deep discovery afforded under in New York State Labor Law that allows our workers’ compensation attorneys to go back and relitigate issues or adjust strategy to achieve cost reductions or defeat claims.
- Leveraging workers’ compensation liens and future benefits to negotiate more favorable global settlements.
CCIP Joint Defense and Cross-Examination Decimate Overlapping Comp and Labor Law Claims
A 53 year-old construction laborer on a site covered by a CCIP fell from a ladder while chopping a beam. Filing both workers’ compensation and Labor Law cases, the plaintiff originally claimed only an injury to the great toe, but later pursued a claim for the neck including multiple disc herniation; he underwent an emergency disc decompression and ultimately had a posterior cervical discectomy with partial cordectomy for cervical myelopathy.
Goldberg Segalla partner and Workers’ Compensation Co-Chair Sean J. McKinley litigated the comp claim and uncovered that the injured worker had a significant prior history of neck treatment—and further uncovered during cross-examination of the injured worker’s treating physician that the doctor did not know about that significant history. The Workers’ Compensation Board disallowed the claim for the neck injury and collateral estoppel was claimed in the third-party action. The third-party demand at one point had risen to more than $3 million for lost wages, future medical care, neck surgery, and the original toe injury, but ultimately dwindled to nothing more than a toe fracture. The Labor Law case settled for under $100,000 with no additional money on the workers’ compensation case.
Facing $5M Demand, Choice to Litigate Comp Claim Proves Critical at Liability Mediation
A 28 year-old iron worker brought a workers’ compensation claim for a right knee injury inclusive of a meniscus repair, then brought a subsequent claim for a consequential slip and fall allegedly requiring a second knee surgery, and additionally amended the case to include a back injury. While the knee condition was significant, the main driver of the case was that because of the back condition this young ironworker had a significant loss of earnings. Represented by Sacks and Sacks, his demand was $5 million.
The claimant’s workers’ compensation counsel made a strategic error in obtaining a Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) report for the knee injuries—mainly because the ironworker had returned to work in a limited-duty capacity and they wanted to move some money to him in the workers’ compensation case until the third-party action could settle. Taking strategic advantage of this error, Goldberg Segalla’s Sean McKinley advised the employer not to negotiate an SLU, and instead push the case to litigation. We deposed the treating doctor, who conceded that the SLU guidelines presumed that the systemic areas were resolved and that the doctor incorporated that presumption into his opinion— knowing that the “resolved” back injury would crush the value of the third-party action. We quickly settled the workers’ compensation case and delivered that transcript to liability counsel to use at mediation. Knowing that the treating physician had conceded the back injury to be resolved, the plaintiffs’ attorneys knew they were out of arguments and accepted $450,000 to settle the workers’compensation and liability cases together.
‘What You Do This For’: Goldberg Segalla’s Joint-Defense Program and Workers’ Compensation Fraud Investigation in Focus
To GS workers’ compensation attorneys, fighting fraud is personal―especially in joint-defense cases involving a related liability suit that puts the client at risk of losing millions. Click here to learn more.
By Robert L. Kaiser
July 17, 2019