Hello all-its been a while since I have posted here (although I have been reading other posts, as I have been able to). Any way, I thought I would share with you all, that my surgeon just put me at MMI and said that as far as my legs being rated...he was going to give me the highest rating allowed by the AMA book. (If anyone happens to know how I can find what that number is, before having to wait to get the Drs. report, I would love that info. ) He said that there were 2 catagories, 1 for those who have had fusions and then progressed and another for a person who had a fusion and have progressively worsened. He was going to put me in the 2nd group and give me the highest amount possible. Then, he had to fill out a form that stated what I could do for work, and he said that I could not work at all.
So, that all sounds good...but if anyone could give me an idea of what the next step is, I'd love that info. as well. I know my lawyer has requested a settlement, but I don't know anything else.
Was this a work related injury for you? I've been on workers comp for two yrs and have been told that as long as they continue to pay me, I cant sue for the injury. I was terminated just this past November 2008, funny thing about that deal was that I recieved my letter from HQ's on Dec 6th, the letter was dated Dec. 3rd and stated if I didnt return by Nov 21st I would be terminated. So technically I had already been terminated a month before they even sent the letter out. According to WC though, I cant touch them while i'm being paid and my medical bills are all being paid.
Just curious if this was a work related injury because you mentioned that your Attorney wanted to settle.
Yes, it is a work related injury for me. Now I know every state has individual laws when it comes to WC cases, but I think one thing in common is that once you are at MMI, you can then settle the case. Sometimes, the WC offer to settle first...depending on what they preceive to have to pay you in the future. Now when I say settle, I am not talking about sueing the company. For those who are deemed to not be able to work again or who have such restrictions that the only job they will be able to get, are ones that will pay less than you were getting prior to the injury, the I/C will have to continue to pay you for your lost wages, for a specific no. of years. (In VA, it is 10 years.) Once you get to your MMI (which is when the Dr. states that he has done everything possible and this is how you will live for the rest of your life), then you and the i/c can add up how many more years they will have to pay you, and take that amount, minus a small % that they would have been able to get in interest, and give it to you in one lump sum...instead of weekly or bi-weekly, for the next several years. It is true that you can not get paid for your pain and suffering, but they do have to pay you for your lost wages. In my case, my Dr. said that I will not be able to work ever again and in my state, they then have to pay my lost wages from now until the day I would normally retire (aprox. 25 years from now).
Well you and I live in the same area based on your location. I too am in Northern Va. Centreville to be exact.
Im bit confused as to some of your terminology as i'm not familiar with anything outside of workers comp. terms. I have a few questions if you dont mind my asking?
What does MMI and I/C mean? When did you get a lawyer or how soon after your injury and was it because you were not being paid by workers comp or they stopped payments?
This only really hit me when I recieved my letter from HQ's in Dec 2008. saying that I had been terminated in Nov 2008. My surgeon released me back to work on light duty, no lifting anything over 10 lbs and many more restrictions approx a year and 4 months after my fusion and then the removal of the hardware but we learned very quickly that after working for just 2 weeks that there was no way I could work due to the amount of pain I was in. So he took me back off of work again indefinatley until we could fix whatever the problems were, if they were even fixable. We were in the middle of appts and deciding to do a 2nd discography to find out if in fact I needed a second fusion at the level above where the first one was done because the current MRI showed narrowing of the L4 level and thats when I recieved my termination letter.
I thought that once I was terminated that my W/C checks would stop and that they would simply cover my medical expenses and rx's and that would be it, but they are still paying me every two weeks and when I spoke with my case worker just last week, he never mentioned anything about my checks stopping, only that he was going to get them put back on the schedule of recieving them every two weeks on Weds. I had also told him that I sought help from a PM doc due to extreme pain and he readily agree'd to just have them fax over any bills or procedures that needed to be done and they would be taken care of.
So i'm not too sure when I should contact an Attorney, do I wait until my payments cease, if they do, or do I hire one now? When I mention sue'ing the company, i'm stating this based on that this is something that could have been prevented, but because I was refused the help I had asked for, it resulted in the type of injury I suffered and the type of life I live today. I have former assistant managers that no longer work for the company who are willing to testify that no help was given to me. I dont know much about sue'ing a large company or sueing at all for that matter and dont even know if I can sue this company, I am just assuming I can due to the injury, but like I said, W/C's is telling me that as long as they pay me my biweekly checks, I cant do a thing to them.
I just had my EMG and nerve conduction tests done two days ago and although the final report has not been compiled yet, the preliminary results show that there is quite a bit of nerve and muscle damage in my back as well as my legs. I also had a CT scan done today and the tech was in awe with what she saw on the scan and said that where I had been getting my Joint injections and epidural blocks is a complete mess and that I didnt have the best looking spine.
Is there a point where W/C says ok, we've been paying you for over two yrs now, we want to try and offer you a settlement or is that something that an Attorney says? and if i'm reading your post correctly, if a settlement is offered this is an amount of money that they would have to pay me until what would have been my retirement age? Its sounds as though its a numbers game, that W/C is going to try to settle for as little as they can, but thats where an Attorney steps in and says yes or no?
I'm just so cofused because I guess w/c has always paid for whatever needed to be done and they have never given me a hard time at all, with the exception of a new case worker taking over my case and it taking weeks to get any return calls back from him and I ended up not having my second discogrpahy done because he didnt return calls from the place that does them to get approval.
I appreciate your help in answering as best as you can to some of my questions. I guess I should start reading this board to bring myself up to date on what could happen and what different terms mean as well as the laws in Virginia.