After a three-year battle, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. finally agreed to settle a class action workers’ compensation lawsuit involving 13,521 employees last week in Colorado. The case, Josephine Gianzero v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., was finally settled when a federal judge in Denver approved the class action lawsuit that claimed Wal-Mart interfered with the way workers’ compensation claims were paid for accidents.
The class action case came from a Colorado Springs Wal-Mart employee workers’ compensation claim from 2009. U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn approved the $4 million settlement from both Wal-Mart and the co-defendant Claims Management Inc., while also ordering four years of injunctive relief, requiring Wal-Mart and CMI to provide training for its workers’ compensation adjusters.
Along with Wal-Mart Inc. and Claims Management Inc., the case also involved additional co-defendants American Home Assurance Co. and Concentra Health Services in Colorado. According to a written statement from the workers’ compensation lawyers who represented the plaintiffs, the judge also required Lexington Insurance, Concentra’s insurer, to pay an additional $4 million in the settlement.
“The defendants denied all allegations of wrongdoing and vigorously defended the case for over three years,” the statements said.
In a press release, the plaintiffs in the case claimed that Wal-Mart, CME, and Concentra “interfered with and limited the independent judgment of certain medical providers who treated injured workers employed by [Wal-Mart] in Colorado who sustained on-the-job injuries.”
Along with Wal-Mart and CMI agreeing to provide training for its workers’ compensation adjusters, Concentra also agreed to provide “periodic training,” to its Colorado marketing and sales workers.
The more than 13,500 plaintiffs will receive checks for $520 for those treated at a Concentra facility and $50 for those treated at other facilities without any proof of claim.
“The health, safety, and well being of our associates are important to [Wal-Mart],” Wal-Mart Stores spokesman Randy Hargrove said in a statement. “If associates are injured at work, we and CMI are committed to making available the best treatment and care, so that they can get better.”
Securing compensation through a class action lawsuit or a regular workers’ compensation claim can be extremely frustrating and complicated, as this case demonstrates, but often, injured workers are able to secure the financial assistance they need with the help of a workers’ compensation lawyer. Try visiting a workers’ compensation lawyer’s website to find more information about what these attorneys do to help people, and how they may be able to assist you after a workplace injury.