I have been dealing with Workers Comp for over a year now and the adjuster is terrible! First time ever I had to go through this and never had a problem with my back in my life.They dragged their feet on everything. I had 4 doctors say I had just a lumbar strain and wanted to let my case go. I kept complaining! They sent me to PT for lumbar strain and liked to kill me,I was in so much pain. Last day in and guy I never saw came in for my evaluation and said that they should not have done that type of therapy on me and that I had a nerve and disc problem. Went to Ortho. Doc. and had MRI. It showed two bulging disc. Had epidural shot and had terrible pain in leg then my toe started to twitch and would not stop. Had evaluation before dicsogram and nurse told me it didn't look bad despite the fact I was in terrible pain. Discogram showed two ruptured disc. Had level 2 fusion on l4-l5,and still in pain. More in other leg now and toe still did not stop twitching. I never was on any meds. for anxiety and now I have to take meds. and have attacks all the time from worrying about all the pain and problems and not being able to do all the things I use to do.I am afraid I am going to have permanent nerve damange in my leg and toe. Still have a long way to go for recovery I know but still feel like I am going to have problems. Doc. tells me I would lose 20% of my back no matter what and that my recovery would be between 50 to 80% somewhere. Work has never contacted me the whole time to see how I am doing, it's like they don't care. Been there over 16 years and all they want to know is when will I be back! My question is when I have to go for PT and work hardening at end of recovery what should I expect? I don't like the fact I will still be on meds. and that will cover up my pain just for a session that dosen't reflect on what working all day long everyday and in pain will be like! I have had enough with people saying, Oh there's nothing wrong or it's not that bad! They don't take it serious that I am the one who has to live with this for the rest of my life, not to mention there is chance for other surgeries if I'm not careful of what I do with my back for now on. I have a very physical job in production work which has heavy lifting and lots of bending and repetitive motions. Do you think I will be put back into this job again? If not what will they do with me? I have never had to go through any of this in my life. Could anyone please give me your workers comp experiences or fill me in on what to expect will happen? Anything you have to offer would be greatly appreciated! PLEASE HELP!!!!
I'm really sorry you're going through this. I'm not dealing with worker's comp, but I'm on long-term disability through my employer and lost my job due to my back problems so I can relate to much of what you are experiencing.
One of the things I have learned along the way is to not take it personally. I was always a very hard and productive worker as I'm sure you are, and at first I found it devastating to have people tell me I looked fine and question why I wasn't back working. Also, the extensive forms and questions from the insurance company were driving me nuts.
However, I have learned that company executives and coworkers who have never been there just plain don't understand. Also, insurance companies will try to minimize their losses - nothing personal against you, it's just something they will do and nothing you can do will change that. The best thing you can do is start planning for a new future whatever that may be. Chances aren't good that you will be able to return to a heavy labor job, but you might be able to return to a lighter-duty job in the future, or it's possible you might not be able to return at all. I hope you will be able to return, but it's important that you realize there is a possibility you won't be able to.
If you haven't already, it would be a good idea to start the process of applying for Social Security Disability. It usually takes 2+ years to get approved, so it's good to apply for it early on, and if you go back to work you won't have lost anything.
It would also be good to find some friends or a local support group to be able to vent and get advice from to help you through this. You have already discovered your work and worker's comp people won't be your advocate in this process, but you really need some people on your side.
Also, doctors will always be optimistic and will assume you are doing well unless you tell them otherwise, so be sure to be very vocal and let them know exactly how you are doing. The doctor will be the one to decide what limitations you have for working. Typically a doctor will give you limitations and then your employer has to decide if they can accommodate your limitations or if they have no work for you given your limitations. Be sure you let your doctor knows what your job requirements are (i.e., heavy lifting, twisting, bending, etc.) so they can make sure your limitations they give you don't put you at risk for further injury. If you aren't able to go back to your current position there may be a light-duty position or sometimes worker's comp will retrain a worker. If you don't feel like you can do a position they are trying to put you in, be sure to talk to your doctor about your concerns so they can help you. Don't let anyone guilt you into going back into a position that you don't feel comfortable with. You're the one that would have to live with any further damage that may happen, not them!
We're here also to help you and support you, and allow you to vent as needed. Take care!
Thanks so much for the info! That's some good stuff to know and I hope to get more as detailed as yours. It's like you said, people think your ok just because they see you out somewhere or if you don't complain about hurting all the time. I'm just not the type person to complain about my pain to everyone. I will be sure to tell my doctor though. I don't want him to think everything is fine if I'm still in pain. I also don't want the meds. to cover up my pain when I'm in PT or work hardening either! I just know when this is all over I have to be in good enough shape to take of myself and my family! Thankyou for helping me understand a little more of what to expect in the future. I'm not sure about SSD because I don't know how that may affect any settlement in the end. If anyone knows more about this please let me know. Thanks alot and take care!
A consultation with an SSD attorney costs you nothing and could give you very valuable advice. Just make sure you find a reputable local attorney that specializes in SSD, worker's comp, LTD, workplace injuries, etc. (not an attorney that does everything). Don't go with an SSD firm that doesn't have attorneys and uses paralegals to handle your case. Besides, a good attorney could also give you some great legal advice with your worker's comp situation, which it sounds like you could use right now.
If you do end up needing SSD eventually, it's very important to file as early as possible since the process takes so long. I don't want to see you finding yourself in a situation where worker's comp tries to drop you while you still can't work, and on top of that have nothing else in the works to help you out. It often takes around a month to get on the calendar of a good SSD attorney, so make the appointment now.
I am going through it also. I was injured at work almost 5 years ago. I truly believe my case carrier adjuster deliberately played games. Surely someone couldn't be THAT incompetant? I went through physical therapy, injections, drugs and finally after 3 years was approved for back surgery. Of course that was after my adjuster approved the surgery with 2 different doctors one didn't even perform back surgery and the second surgeon I had never heard of and had not even seen. By the time I finally got the right surgeon another 10 months went by. Hellloooo..
I was at my job for 18 years and didn't go back as I am still not ok and have been fighting since December to have another wrist surgery as the first one done four years ago didn't go quite right and my finger doesnt bend when I want it to. I ended up retiring waaay too early as I had exhausted w/c payments, vacation and sick time.
I had applied for SSD. My attorney supposedly handled it also after being denied. I couldn't get hold of him for months. Turns out he didn't care as he was getting ready to retire.
I recently hired another attorney and refiled for SSD.
I thought Calif was the only state totally messed up with w/c since our governor changed the laws in 2004. Maybe if I had treatment immediately I could have gone back to work. It is a horrible and frustrating experience. At least know you aren't alone. Sorry you are going through this.
I just can't believe how people who are hurt on the job are treated! I can understand there are people out there that want something for nothing. What dosen't make since is when the adjuster has proof that the person has never had any problems and proof of a serious injury, why they stiil don't want to give you the care you deserve and need. I don't want to be taken advantage of and want to be sure I get what I need to take care of myself and my family. My back is my livelyhood!! What will I do if I can't go back to work? All i have ever done is physical work. Don't know much about computers or office work. Is there anything else out there for me in my condition? This is all so fustrating!!!
Hi. Just finished reading thru your posts, and can sympathize completely. Have been dealing with Work Comp here in WY for close to 2 years now, sometimes with a LOT of frustration.
My injury sounds a little worse, but I haven't gone as far in the back surgery dept yet: fell backwards off some scaffolding and compressed two discs, damaged my left SI joint, along with a crushed wrist and compressed discs in the neck. Have had two surgeries on the wrist, finally having 3 small bones fused together, and that is actually healing nicely. The neck seems to be doing ok after several pretty painful steroid injections at C5/C6. The BACK, however, is an ongoing problem and W.C. is starting to give me a really hard time about it. Have had three different Ortho docs give me 3 different diagnoses on what main problems are and how to "fix" them. Fusion at L4/L5 and possibly L3/L4 was the most drastic, and am trying to avoid that at all costs. Trying to get W.C. to approve anything that is mildly "cutting edge" is almost impossible, and yet I can't believe they still continue to approve fusion as a viable option (too many failed fusions, too often it creates a need for more fusion, etc). I am researching artificial discs, microsurgery to relieve stenosis (can't feel my left foot and lower leg), and now looking at having Radio Frequency Ablation done on some facet joint nerves, just so I can stop taking narcotics while we figure everything else out.
Anyway, W.C. has not been very forthcoming about what resources are available to me [U]by law.[U] They have been pretty good about allowing me to continue medical treatments, but then I found out that all this time I could have been taking vocational rehab training, up to $30,000 for schooling to assist me to learn something else that would pay 90% of what I was earning when I was injured. If they had told me about that, at least I could have been applying for it in case I am unable to return to construction, while I continue to work on my back problems. Getting info from W.C. about what you're entitled to is like pulling teeth from a dinosaur.
I have four witnesses to my accident that thought I was dead or wheelchair-bound, so my case is pretty hard for them to refute/deny, yet they continually throw up roadblocks to my getting the latest and most effective treatments. Very frustrating. I just keep reminding them that I have four witnesses and a very concerned boss who are more than willing to come and testify at any hearing/trial that might need to occur, and then they grudgingly agree to allow the treatment and continue my disability payments. It's NOT like I WANTED to get knocked off some scaffolding and have a giant beam land on me so I could get a free ride in life. I'd give anything to go back to that day and not have that happen, and happily be going to work every day instead of sitting around in pain and wondering how the hell I'm going to help support my family from now on.
Just keep after your W.C. department, and be firm about it. Especially if you have co-workers and/or a boss who witnessed your injury and are on your side. If you have the firepower to let them know you're willing to go to hearing/trial, it seems like they will do a better job of providing access to the needed treatment and/or retraining. At least that has been my exerience so far. Hope this helps.