The family and friends of a 47-year-old man who died from serious complications after a workers’ comp injury are seeking criminal charges against the claims management company and individual adjuster they say drove him to his death.
Charles Romano was injured in 2003 while stocking shelves at Ralphs Grocery in Camarillo, California. The surgery he had two years later left him with a serious staph infection which led to pulmonary and renal failure and eventually paralyzed him. Throughout his struggle to regain his health, Romano’s friends say he was treated poorly by Sedgwick Claims Management Service Inc., a company Ralph’s Grocery pays to handle its workers’ compensation claims. Sedgwick denied each of Romano’s requests and failed to provide him with adequate care until his medical bills had reached $24,000 per day, attorneys said.
California’s Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board found 11 instances in which Sedgwick did “unreasonably delay” medical care for Romano. In its decision, the board wrote that Sedgwick “exhibited such blithe disregard for its legal and ethical obligation to provide medical care to a critically injured worker” and that the company “demonstrated a callous indifference to the catastrophic consequences of its delays, inaction and outright neglect.”
Romano’s longtime friend Sid Freeman and members of the Central Coast Chapter of California Applicant Attorney Association are asking the Ventura County district attorney to file criminal charges against Sedgwick and the adjuster who handled Romano’s case.
The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office pledged to evaluate the case.