Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Unfortunately, worker's compensation insurance companies are just like other insurance companies. They seek to pay the smallest amount possible in order to avoid paying any money at all.
When they choose to take a hard line and not do what they should, your only option is to hire a local attorney and sue them in the WC court for disability. Do not accept anything they offer and don't sign anything.
Regrettably, with the employer, they can allege that he is too disabled to do the job and not keep him. While the ADA requires that an employer accommodate a disability, they only have to do so within the job the person had. If lifting 50 lbs was part of his job, they can try to claim that he is no longer able to perform the function of his job. If he was able to do so and they are just regarding him as disabled, he'll have to file an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the employer for disability discrimination. The issue will come down to whether or not he was able to perform all necessary functions of his job.
But he definitely needs to hire a local worker's compensation attorney to file a suit against the insurance carrier here. if he is unable to work based on the work injury, they owe him significantly more.