Re: Tired of fighting Workers Comp (depressed)
I am new to the boards but an old hand at back pain. I herniated L3-L4, L4-L5,L5-S1 at work 5 years ago. When I hurt myself my foreman would not let me off work to go to the Hospital. I went the next day. It seemed the only thing the MCO was interrested in was wether I passed the drug test or not. Of course I was clean. I do not use that stuff. The day after I went to the hospital and filed a Workers Comp claim I was fired.
I hired my first lawyer and he said they could fire me as I was damaged goods.
My first doctor fired me because I missed an appointment.
I hired my second lawyer and doctor. It took three years to get approval for surgery to alleviate some of the pain. It was pretty good right after the surgery. I got to reduce some of the meds I am on and could walk okay while I was going to PT.
One year post surgery it all fell apart. I am in just as much pain as pre surgery and on more meds. 4800mg neurontin, 200mg topomax,3600mg skelaxin(for muscle spasms) and 120mg oxycontin.
I have only received $3500 from BWC in the past 5 years. I haven't even gotten all my lost wages from my job.
While waiting for surgery my doctor released me to work limited. I found a job as a cashier. They fired me while I was in the hospital recovering from surgery.
I went from a productive healthy 37yr old to a tired 42yr old who is trying to support her two children on Welfare.
I was also being treated for Major Depressive Disorder that was cause by my situation. My disability has broken up my marriege.
I decided to go back to college and retrain myself for a job I can physycally do. No help from BWC there, I foot the bill for this.
I am too tired to fight anymore so I am settling. BWC says that all of this is only worth $20k. Not even enough to pay for my meds for a year.
Anyone out there got any advice? I have heard that my case may be able to be revisitied after settlement.
Also does anyone have any idea if my being listed as Temporary Total disabled by BWC will I be elegible for Social Security? I still am not able to work full time. I am very limited.
Any help or advicce would be appreciated.[/QUOTE]
First, get yourself a Worker's Comp attorney BEFORE you settle. My employer terminated my employment when I returned to work, which I found out is against the law. I was given a settlement for this, separate from my WC settlement. Your WC attorney can file for a Hearing, wherein you are given the opportunity to receive reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses, re-training, back wages and even to ask for life-time medical, in addition to any financial settlement for disabililty, be it part or full. In CA, you start by filing a State disability claim. State only pays for 1 year, then you have to file for Social Security disability. When I got to that stage, I hired an attorney who specialized in Social Security disability. Initially, Social Security denied my claim (seems they also deny), so my Social Security attorney requested a Hearing. The Hearing is not a jury trial. It's usually you, your attorney and a judge advocate, who will ask to review your medical records, independent medical evaluation, degree of disability, etc. I won without a fight and received back benefits as well as monthly benefits. So don't give up too easily. I know the frustration involved, but I do believe having a worker's comp attorney really helped me get through the ordeal. And, in my case, I had 2 separate work injuries involving 2 different employers, so it was quite involved. My workers comp attorney was able to get the first insurance carrier to advance me money against my settlement. Any amounts advanced to you are then deducted from your final settlement.
My attorneys were both paid from my settlements at the end. No out-of-pocket, and their fees are regulated. So keep accurate records and keep a diary or phone log of conversations and things said by your employer, because this will only help your case later.
My heart goes out to you. Keep the faith.