I'm new to this site and I've tried to search and search for information regarding settlement amounts and haven't found any particular amounts... I've read alot of people saying that when they ask this particular question, all they care about is the money, rather than improving their condition/disability, and that may be true for some people, but it's DEFINITELY not true for me and I really want to know because I have an attorney that doesn't return any of my phone calls or speak to me... I haven't seen him in 4 years- since I first settled my claim (with future medical, and at that time, I was rated 66% disabled and I was 22 at the time of injury, as a senior accountant and said I could do sedentary work.. now, I'm 29, almost 30 -- in a month, and my attorney has re-opened my case as I've had tons of other injuries related to my original one, and he has stated he's getting me 100% permanent disability. Oh, and all the AME's I've seen - I have seen a Neurologist AME, Psychologist AME and several Orthopedic AME's and all state I can't even do sedentary work, that I am ordered full-time bedrest, which I've maintained for 2 years, and I will never be able to return to my accountant sedentary job and my doctor's pulled me out of work in 2004, despite my arguments to continue working as I really wanted to for satisfaction and self-esteem issues, and they stated I could no longer work and pulled me out because it was causing alot of further injury.
Anyways, here's a recap of what happened to me...
I'm hoping you can please help me by answering a couple of questions I have regarding workers comp. in california, which is where I live. I was injured in 2001 at work, resulting originally in a ACL and meniscus tear in my right knee, and during the 1st open operation something went wrong as there are now several issues now and I've undergone 8 surgeries since...there are hundred metal fragments in my knee, I've been told it's similiar to people that stepped on a landmine, and no doctor has been able to get rid of all the metal fragments as they are inside the joint and now embedded and can't be removed...they cause constant inflammation and serious swelling all the time as i've been told it's a foreign body (my x-rays of my knee looks like polka dots everywhere), and after all the surgeries, years of physical therapy (which after 6 years my ortho. surgeon pulled me out of physical therapy, stating it was causing more damage... the more I do, the more damage, he compared it to polio) I've had 8 knee surgeries and a zillion problems with other body parts that are all listed as covered as well, however , no one will do back surgery or address my other problems because they stated they are focused on the severity of my knee for now.
I NEVER was able to regain range of motion and was diagnosed with severe arthrofibrosis which is severe scar tissue and it's like cement now and they can never remove it all, there's still a ton in there, I was also diagnosed with patella baja, meaning my kneecap is so low now its sitting on my shin bone, and i've been diagnosed with grade 3-4 chondromyacia, and I've had alot of chondroplasties and microfractures to try to help this, but to no avail.. i also have been diagnosed with severe synovitis and have had alot of ' extensive synovectomies' but haven't helped as i've been told all of my synovial fluid in my knee is gone... I have been told my several dr's to just get knee replacements, but then I've been told that won't even fix my problems because the same thing will happen with the new knee, it will become frozen again with severe scar tissue, and my other problems will continue and I also now have a severe case of RSD/ CRPS so no one will touch my knee anymore... I recently had tests done and my bad knee is 20 degrees colder than my other knee and I've had an EMG, where they stick needles in your leg, and 2 of my major muscles in my leg are in *constant* contractions and muscle spasms, all are involuntary. Also, I've been diagnosed with Clonus, dystonia, and myclonia, movement disorders from the RSD/CRPS.
I now have a 7 inch long scar and 9 holes all over my knee and thigh and my leg is deformed.
I have permanently lost 30 degrees range of motion in extension, even on the operating table, no surgeon can get my leg to fully extend, and I also lost flexion, I think it was last measured at around 120 degrees, out of 140. I have also lost extensive muscle in my leg- the AME last measured a loss of 2 inches in my calf and 4 inches in my thigh (I know, it's alot of atrophy). My psychology AME reports state that I have a major "Severe depressive disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia, related to a Pain Disorder", meaning, it's related to my disability and she stated I will be permanent and stationary, psychologically in 6 months (that was 3 months ago). I have undergone 5 AME's with a orthopedic surgeon and 1 AME with a neurologist, just a month ago the neurologist stated I have "marked complex regional pain syndrome with a secondary movement disorder, of a myclonic-dystonic type" from my 8 surgeries as a complication, and that I have "considerable objective evidence to support this diagnosis" as well as my other diagnoses. I have been told by my treating dr's, as well as my AME dr's that I can not even go back to my sedentary job as a senior accountant and I cannot work. I currently spend all my time in bed, about 90-100% bedridden.. due to severe pain, legs go numb ( i also have a herniated disc at L5-S1 and degenerative disc disorder related to my knee, from limping on a cane for several years and it has been listed as being covered under W/C... also covered is my right knee, left knee, right hip, low back,psychological related stuff, bowel and urine dysfunction, heart disease, a 78 lbs weight gain due to bedrest for 2 years, which now caused very high cholesterol, borderline diabetes, heart disease, no menses/ period for 2 years(... I'm only 29!) and alot of other medical problems for me.... severe insomnia, and a slew of other health problems. My treating dr. stated I will die in ten years if I do not get my heart disease under control, however, its extremely difficult because I am immobile, can't exercise, and was even told by my dr. to discontinue physical therapy 2 years ago, after going for 5 to 6 years, 5 days per week.. For now, I'm still receiving temporary disability payments every 2 weeks, have been for 4 years now... I get 1246.42 every 2 weeks, about $2500 per month.
My question is, if I settled and tried to get a lump sum payment, rather than future medical, how much should I get or how much should I fight for?
It isn't the money I care about, although I realize that's the primary question I'm asking. It's because I've already gone thru 7 years of doing EVERYTHING I've been asked to do to get better and I've been told I won't get better so now I'm focused on how much I should ask for, as I have alot of money to pay ahead of me--- several knee replacements, back surgeries, my medications cost $4,000 per month and this isn't considering alot of other costs I haven't factored into the equation. I tried to go to the California W/C website and there's a LONG adobe pdf file on how to calculate your permanent disability... I was a senior financial analyst/ accountant for 10 years and I STILL can't figure it out! LOL. I have heard SO many different numbers from reading other stories and hearing stories that I don't know what to expect... and it matters since I will never work again, so I need to ensure I get the most I can since I'm screwed up for life. NO money could EVER replace what has been taken away from me... I was a former athelete-- competed in gymnastics, horse competitions, soccer, ran everyday, worked out 6 days per week, 2 hours per day.. and I did EVERY sport you can imagine. I also was a workaholic, which is why I worked as long as I did after the injury, and had to have my doctors force me to stop... and now I'm depressed because I am the complete opposite of my former self... I am on bedrest, can't do any activities let alone any sports, I sold my horses years ago, I can't work anymore, even for my husband who owns his own company and he begs me to help do the accounting and I can't concentrate or do anything.... I want to help him so badly and can't... we have had to even put off having a child and I was pregnant 3 years ago and am still dealing with the fact I was told to have an abortion because either the fetus or I could have died because of my heart condition... had I knew that before, I would have never tried to get pregnant for 5 years. I don't know if even I could even care for one, given I can't even take care of myself. My poor husband has had to do everything for me, and I mean everything. He brings me all my meals in bed ( I bought a hospital bed), and he cleans, cooks,and quit his job 3 years ago to stay at home with me, so he now owns his own company and works in the other room from me. The only time I leave my house is for Dr. Appts, and even going to short Dr. appts, I pay for it for about a week afterwards with severe pain, alot of swelling, stiffness, and my legs go completely numb and my leg locks so often, alot of the time I can't manually unlock it.. it's so embarrassing but I've had accidents in our bed before because my leg has locked or gone completely numb that I couldn't make it to the bathroom.. I shower 1 time per week, if I'm lucky. I brush my teeth 3 times per week if i'm lucky. I used to model and now I am an unkept pig. Sorry, but that's how I feel. I feel totally worthless.
Regarding W/C, if I do get 100%, how much would that equate to, and how much should I ask for if I get a lump sum? I would REALLY appreciate your help, as I feel completely lost and helpless...