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Old 01-21-2005, 04:23 PM   #1
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Workers comp....get a lawyer or no?

I hurt my back and herninated a disc 2 years ago, at the time, they said it was a pulled mucsle, treated me with PT and put me back to work.

I told them it still hurt some, they said it takes a long time for the muscle to heal. A year goes by, all the time with back pain and I hurt it worse doing some work. I call them and tell them I need to see a doctor and my back was never healed from the last time. They told me, sorry you went a year with out seeing a doctor, your claim is no more. Would you like to make a new claim, so I did. (what if I rehurt it lifting something at my house, I'd be screwed)

Now its been about 6-9 months I've been on it and I'm getting a diskogram to see what surgery I need. I have a friend who hurt his back too and hes got a lawyer and plans on settling and fixing it himself. I have not got a lawyer yet.

He got one because he said someone hit him in his car and although it didnt hurt his back they tried to drop his workers comp coverage because they thought it might have. So hes thinks they are looking for any reason to drop you and he would rather get money to fix himself and pay bills while he gets a new career because he wont be able to do what he does anymore.

I'm kinda in the same boat, I doubt I'll ever be able to do what I do because it involves a lot of twisting, lifting, carring stuff up ladders, bending for long periods of time.

Anyone with experience with or with out lawyers with workers comp? I know all states are differnt but Id like to hear peoples story from both sides. I still work and just have a 30 pound limit so I'm at limited duty, I will probably need a new career as well. I would hate for me to cross some red tape like getting in a accident, going to long with out a doctors appointment or whatever other crazy rules they have that I might not be aware of and them drop me and I end up with nothing. I also hear if they catch you lifting more then you are supposed to they will drop you. I have 3 kids, I have to pick them up at times and I dont want to be looking over my shoulders if you know what I mean.

The downside to settling is now I have to deal with all my problems for the rest of my life. If I get surgery, I wouldnt get paid, all the doctor visits and meds ect.
Any imput would be great.

Last edited by Parks71; 01-21-2005 at 04:28 PM.

 
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Old 01-21-2005, 08:21 PM   #2
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Shakespeare HB User
Re: Workers comp....get a lawyer or no?

Definnately get a lawyer. I hurt my back 5 years ago at work. I went to the hospital the next day. It took 3 years before BWC approved surgery to alleviate some of the pain. I have a lawyer and even though he is not very good, without him the red tape that workers comp throws at a you would be a nightmare.
I have never peen paid by BWC and now after 5 years I am tired of fighting and am going to settle.
The problem with settling is you will not get enough money to cover all your expenses.
Most lawyers that handle workers comp cases do so on a contingency basis. You should not have to pay them because they will get one quarter to one third of whatever you receive from BWC.
If you do get a lawyer before you go for a settlement, make sure they include the amount you usually pay a month for doctor visits and medicine.
Good Luck!!

 
Old 01-21-2005, 09:02 PM   #3
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Re: Workers comp....get a lawyer or no?

I hurt my back and neck while on the job, went through WC and then was fired. I got a lawyer because they cannot fire you due to being unable to work because of an on-the-job injury. I received my back wages plus medical compensation (for on-going treatment) but chose not to return to the job because I did not feel comfortable going back (small company).

Last edited by MissyMousums; 01-21-2005 at 09:04 PM.

 
Old 01-21-2005, 09:39 PM   #4
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Re: Workers comp....get a lawyer or no?

There are a lot of laws in place to protect you as am employee. Do you belong to a union? That is a great place for advice.

My husband's injury was WC. We did not get an attorney but then he did not want any money, just wanted surgery and to get back to work. Attorneys set off red flags to WC, and they take 40% of whatever you settle for.

We found, from talking to other employees first, just to file the claims, try to ride it out and if you can't go back to what you were doing when you got hurt, they have to offer you a light duty job, limited duty, or pay for your retraining in another profession. If you are unable to work at all, which is highly unlikely as even Christopher Reeves continued to work, then dont settle for less than you would have made in the time left before retirement and then your pension. It is better to take the high road.

There are a lot of people at my husband's work who took the disabiltiy retirement and are not barely treading water. They can't do any work because of the fear of the investigators, which is a valid fear.

This is a HUGE decison. What ever you choose, hang in there. It is worth it in the end.

take care,

 
Old 01-21-2005, 09:54 PM   #5
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Re: Workers comp....get a lawyer or no?

I am able to work but not at 100%. I do not think I'll ever be able to do what I used to in this job with out causing more pain. I get pain after working at just the 30# limit but the doc pretty much says tough it out and I tend to agree because even though I have pain, I am able to function. I just have to take a lot of breaks ect and meds.

My workers comp has not given me any problems yet, they have approved everything I have asked for so far. I just fear losing my benifits over something stupid or some rule they have that I might not be aware of like not seeing a dr for a year or something.


Sure my job says now I have light duty to do, but what happens if after my surgery I am not able to work 100%, sure I can sit in the office being overpaid for office crap until they can come up with a reason to get rid of me. Then what type career do I have? I would not be trained in anything else.

Then again, if I settle, can the job ditch me then? I would be way overpaid to sit in the office. Anyone know what happens when you get your MMI? I heard when you get your MMI its all over, you just get benifits to treat it. Does my job have the option to get rid of me then?

If I dont settle, how long is my job obligated to keeping me even though I cant do what I'm supposed to do?

Will they settle with out lawyer?

I know of 2 people that have settled with WC here in florida and they only got 25k which seems hardly worth it. The friend I spoke of is trying for 75k but he doesnt know what the answer is yet. The lawyers told him you pretty much get 1 years salary plus what it costs for surgery which seems hardly worth the trade off of life time doctor visits and meds and procedures even if my own insurance would cover it which I doubt they would since it was a WC injury.

Anyone know if your personal insurance will take over if you do settle?

Thanks for any help.

Last edited by Parks71; 01-21-2005 at 10:00 PM.

 
Old 01-21-2005, 10:03 PM   #6
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Re: Workers comp....get a lawyer or no?

I would think that the employer must keep you on if it is determined that you will recover and be able to work in the same position you were in. If you are not they can qualify you as disabled and let you go but that's where you need a lawyer to determine what you are entitled to. You maybe entitled to
training for another career that will accomodate your limitations.

For instance, my ex was in the military and injured his back and was deemed permanently unfit for duty and was medically discharged. Since he could no longer work in the same capacity, he was entitled to vocational rehab through the VA and went back to school. WC may provide similar benefits. When I left my job I went into an office job that did not require physical labor and that was my own choice and I had previous experience doing that.

No harm in consulting someone! Good luck!

 
Old 01-22-2005, 10:45 AM   #7
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injured betty HB User
Re: Workers comp....get a lawyer or no?

We have a friend who was injured on the job. He tried to do his job but could not perform all of the duties. He went on light duty but again, could not (or would not) do the job. He opted for filing for long term disability. They paid him, but only in chunks. He didn't get a regular check and had to rely on loan's and his wife's income to get by. That is great if you are in that position. He finally retired at 55% of his income on a disability retirement. He has had to watch his back for years, always on the look out for the investigators. His job is dilligent in follow up on possible fraud.

If you settle, you can take another job. But, you would always have limitations, right? Why not stay where you are, take light duty, and then you will still have your retirement fund and pension when the time comes.

The other option is retraining. Most jobs are more than willing to send you for retraining through disability. They save money because you are not sitting there taking up a light duty job and then they can release you from employment, legally.

I had a friend who tore a rotator cuff at UPS. They sent him back to college and then massage school. He went on to get a degree in both and is doing quite well now. Everything was paid for along with a check each month for living expenses.

Your union is the best place for information on this.

wishing you the best,

Last edited by injured betty; 01-22-2005 at 10:45 AM.

 
Old 01-22-2005, 04:44 PM   #8
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Re: Workers comp....get a lawyer or no?

[QUOTE=injured betty]We have a friend who was injured on the job. He tried to do his job but could not perform all of the duties. He went on light duty but again, could not (or would not) do the job. He opted for filing for long term disability. They paid him, but only in chunks. He didn't get a regular check and had to rely on loan's and his wife's income to get by. That is great if you are in that position. He finally retired at 55% of his income on a disability retirement. He has had to watch his back for years, always on the look out for the investigators. His job is dilligent in follow up on possible fraud.

If you settle, you can take another job. But, you would always have limitations, right? Why not stay where you are, take light duty, and then you will still have your retirement fund and pension when the time comes.

The other option is retraining. Most jobs are more than willing to send you for retraining through disability. They save money because you are not sitting there taking up a light duty job and then they can release you from employment, legally.

I had a friend who tore a rotator cuff at UPS. They sent him back to college and then massage school. He went on to get a degree in both and is doing quite well now. Everything was paid for along with a check each month for living expenses.

Your union is the best place for information on this.

wishing you the best,



Staying at my job and collecting retirement is not an option. I work for a very small company and I'm 31. This company could close its doors anyday its so small and tight on money. The owner is also 67 so I doubt he wants to keep it for too much longer. So even though I could do light duty, when the company closes due to money or the owner retiring I will be out of a job. Wonder what would happen if I didnt settle and the company closed if I would still be covered under that policy even though they are not getting paid by the company due to being sold or closed?
[/QUOTE]

 
Old 01-22-2005, 05:08 PM   #9
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Re: Workers comp....get a lawyer or no?

If the company went out of business you may be covered for a short amount of time but then you would have to pay for own insurance.

If you are no longer able to perform the work due to the OTJ injury, you may well be eligible for the vocational rehab programs through WC.
If you decide to settle, make sure you have a lawyer so you can be assured that you are getting all the medical and vocational benefits that you are entitled to. They'll settle without your lawyer but you better know what all you are entitled to because they will not tell you.

Worry about getting the medical treatment and rehab so you can move on with your life rather on whether the company is going to retain you. WC is taking care of your treatment, not the company since it was OJT.

Good luck!

 
Old 01-22-2005, 05:12 PM   #10
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Re: Workers comp....get a lawyer or no?

[COLOR=Magenta]Staying at my job and collecting retirement is not an option. I work for a very small company and I'm 31. This company could close its doors anyday its so small and tight on money. The owner is also 67 so I doubt he wants to keep it for too much longer. So even though I could do light duty, when the company closes due to money or the owner retiring I will be out of a job. Wonder what would happen if I didnt settle and the company closed if I would still be covered under that policy even though they are not getting paid by the company due to being sold or closed? (parks)[/COLOR]


I had another friend who had a hammer fall on his head from a second story. He was in construction. He filed a disability claim. They paid him for awhile and then went bankrupt. He lost out. They stayed in business but he lost his job when they *restructured*. He hired an attorney and didn't get a dime.

If the company is sold, the new owner assumes everything. If it goes out of business, I am not sure how that is handled. But, you pay disability insurance to the state, so it would still be in effect. It is a decision between taking the disability insurance or suing the company. Suing the company might put the poor guy out of business if does not carry enough worker's comp. You might talk to him about it.

I would want to leave on good terms so that you will get a good recommendation. But, everyone is entitled to the WC and state disability that is taken out of your check each month.

Since the guy is older and might not stay in business, and money is tight, I would look into the amount of the policy. What line of work is it?

take care,

 
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