Attorneys for a 42-year-old food delivery man who reluctantly left his employment after injuring his back and left ankle have secured a $105,000 workers’ compensation settlement.
Alexander Sarris, attorney for Newington resident Tajinder Sehmi, said Friday his biggest obstacle in the case was convincing his client it was in his best interests to stop working for Peapod, the delivery arm of Stop & Shop Supermarket Co.
“It was a real challenge because you have someone who wants to keep doing what they are doing, but physically his body cannot hold up,” said Sarris, an associate with Hartford-based Cicchiello & Cicchiello. “We had to sit down and talk to him about that. I told him that, in my opinion, his back could get worse if he kept doing that type of work. I think he came to realize that he was going to perpetuate the issues [and] symptoms, and would have a lot of pain if he stayed.”
Sehmi was a deliveryman with a route in Plainville. He slid on slippery stairs, fell and injured his back and left ankle in March 2016 while delivering food to the Bell Marie Senior Assisted Living Residential Care Home.
“It was raining on the outside and the steps were a little damp,” Sarris said.
Sehmi sustained a herniated disc in his back and will likely need surgery, Sarris said. As of mid-April, his medical expenses had reached about $16,300.
He “has trouble walking around and, if he is seated for a long period of time, it is painful,” Sarris said. “His back is also very stiff at times.”
Peapod’s initial workers’ compensation offer was for about $95,000, nearly $83,000 less than Sarris’ number.
Although Sarris’ original demand was for $177,500, he said he was satisfied with the settlement.
“My client wanted me to negotiate for something higher than $95,000,” he said. “It’s always difficult to get over that $100,000 threshold in workers’ compensation cases, but it was warranted in this particular case.”
The case settled Monday. A check paid by Chubb Insurance will disbursed by the end of the month, Sarris said.
Meanwhile, Sehmi is preparing to re-enter the workforce by enrolling in the New Britain-based Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission Rehabilitative Services program.
The program is covered by state funds, and offers retraining and education to help clients find work.
“They take your restrictions, see what the physical aspects of the job are, and look at whether it’s a good match,” Sarris said.
Jane Carlozzi, a partner with Nuzzo & Roberts in Cheshire, represented Peapod and Chubb. She did not respond to a request for comment Friday.