Police Officer Injured In The Line Of Duty
In the line of duty, Police Officer Joseph Cecala injured his back when responding to an auto accident involving an elderly man crashing into a traffic signal. Joseph and other officers on the scene moved the traffic signal out of the roadway. He thought a little rest would cure the radiating pain in his back and down his right leg, but time just increased it. An MRI later revealed two herniated discs in his spine. After many visits to back and pain specialists, followed by two spine surgeries performed by a neurosurgeon, the pain continued in his leg and back. The injury prevented him from returning to active duty on the police force. At 40 years old with a wife and two children to support, Joseph needed help.
“I wasn’t getting any better after a year of physical therapy and two surgeries,” Joseph said. “I started having some doubts about my treatment plan and if my employer had my best interests in mind. They wanted me to go back to work, though I had serious medical problems. I needed legal representation for my workers’ compensation claim. I was hopeful that if I got in touch with the right people legally and medically that the situation would resolve and I could get back to normal.”
Another law firm referred Joseph to Ryan Theriault, an attorney with a Chicago area law firm, for his combined expertise in personal injury, workers’ compensation and public safety claims. Theriault had an excellent record in representing police officers injured in the line of duty. He also had the support of a legal team considered to be one of the state’s top workers’ compensation attorneys. Ryan and his legal team have successfully represented hundreds of clients in workers’ compensation cases that resulted in settlements with long-term financial, pension, and health care compensation.
“Ryan gave me sound legal advice and was the buffer between me and the insurance company that was handling the workers’ comp claim,” Joseph said. “He could tell me what was right and wrong. And I trusted him to give me the honest answer.”
After aligning with Theriault, Joseph visited a new doctor outside of the workers’ compensation doctors referred by the nurse caseworker. That doctor, along with subsequent doctors he visited for second and third opinions, confirmed that his injury was permanent. They tried aqua therapy and physical therapy, but nothing improved his condition.
“You know every morning, I wake up and hope I am going to feel a little better, but it is exactly the same,” Joseph said.
Joseph is permanently disabled. He must use a cane to walk and a scooter when out of the house. He has nerve damage in his back and constant numbness in his right leg. Joseph was forced to leave the police department at 40 years old due to his disability.
Theriault filed a disability pension claim for the police department, as well as a third-party case with the auto insurance involved in the traffic accident. Theriault also ensured that Joseph receives health care insurance for the rest of his life as part of his retirement, due to his injury in the line of duty.
“Ryan went out of his way to represent me at the pension board hearing for my disability pension. And he put my mind at ease, as I had medical issues and a family that depends on me. Ryan and the whole legal team worked hard for me and went above and beyond to get me a fair settlement. For such a terrible situation, I couldn’t have imagined a better outcome. Without hesitation, I would refer my colleagues in the law enforcement community to Ryan Theriault.”