Attorneys for a 49-year-old Wethersfield man who suffered herniated discs and serious back injuries following a November 2013 car crash have settled his workers’ compensation claim for $400,000. That brings the total settlement compensation for Christopher Bachteler to $850,000.
Bachteler, who was working for Andover-based Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in a company car at the time of accident, recently received his check, according to Manny Cicchiello, his Hartford-based attorney. The workers’ compensation claim was mediated June 4 with Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Daniel Dilzer, who recommended settling for $450,000. At mediation, Cicchiello said he had demanded $750,000, while the attorneys for Acadia, the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier, offered $150,000. Andrew Orvis was the driver of the vehicle that struck Bachteler’s vehicle. The two sides agreed on the $400,000 figure on July 20.
Last year, Cicchiello, a partner and owner with Cicchiello & Cicchiello, secured a $425,000 settlement with Orvis’ insurance carrier, Continental Western Insurance Co. Before that settlement, a $25,000 tortfeasor policy had been paid to Bachteler.
Bachteler’s vehicle, according to the eight-page amended lawsuit filed in Hartford Superior Court in October 2014, was struck by Orvis, who had attempted to back out of his driveway. The lawsuit claims Orvis failed to yield the right of way, backed his car out when it was not safe to do so and failed to ensure traffic was clear.
Bachteler suffered back pain, herniated discs and loss of feeling in his right leg, Cicchiello said.
Cicchiello said his client’s first surgery was a fusion to his lower back. But, Cicchiello said, “the fusion is not fusing properly. He now needs to get a 360 lumbar surgery, which means they will cut open the front and back and fuse the front and back of the spine.” That surgery is pending, Cicchiello said Tuesday.
Bachteler performed light duty for about a month following the accident, but has not worked since, his attorney said. Bachteler, Cicchiello said, is hoping to start a new career in real estate.
Bachteler, Cicchiello said, “is extremely satisfied” with the latest settlement in his case. “He has not been able to work for nearly five years. He has a very restricted lifestyle and limited functionality because of his back.”
The workers’ compensation claim was paid via Acadia Insurance. The company was represented by attorney Michael Vernile, a partner with Monstream & May in Glastonbury. Vernile did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. In addition, it is not clear what arguments the defense made in court filings as the case has been closed and is no longer available online.
Cicchiello said his biggest obstacle in the case was the balance required in all workers’ compensation cases. “In any workers compensation case there is a consideration that an attorney and his or her client have to assess. When an expensive course of medical treatment is needed or required, sometimes that is when a case in workers’ compensation is most valuable for settlement purposes. An attorney and his or her client have to consider or balance the need for future medical treatment with the offer to settle for lump sum.”