I am working to help my friend with workman's comp issues. THANKS in advance to all who read or can help.
Sam is my buddy and neighbor. He lives in Alabama. He is 54 years old.
About 5 years ago, Sam's right leg was crushed in a motor grader accident. Normally, Sam was the heavy equipment operatior, but on this day, he was working on the ground. Sam's boss was operating the machine and backed up, running over Sam's leg, crushing it. (The boss was later diagnosed with cancer and has since died.)
Paramedics were summoned, Sam was transported, unconscious, to the ER and Sam's family was called and they were told he likely would not survive the injuries.
ER personnel were able to stabilize Sam, and the following day, an orthopedic surgeon operated on his injured leg. The small leg bone (the fibula) in his leg was crushed to the point that it was removed. The larger bone (the tibia) was cut off and a rod was inserted. His foot (using general terms) was fractured in 23 places.
Sam was hospitalized for about 2 months. He underwent 3 or 4 surgeries on his leg. One surgery was to help alleviate swelling in his upper leg that was so severe that his skin was rupturing from the pressure of the swelling.
Doctors told Sam he probably wouldn't walk using his right leg. The doctors said he ought to go ahead and file for disability, but Sam had two kids at home and a wife who did not work outside the home. Sam said he couldn't make ends meet on the disability money, so eventually the dotors signed off on Sam and he returned to work, this time with a different contractor.
During this time, Sam filled out his own Social Security application and was rejected. You have to know Sam, so of course, he did not do anything to fight the rejection. After all, he was a tough, proud man, and he believed in doing what he had to do for his family.
Also during this time, an attorney worked with Sam to win a sum of $20,000 from the workman's comp provider. One stipulation was Sam would sign off on the provider if he accepted the $20K. The provider agreed to cover future problems associated with his leg. Sam used the $20K to pay off $13,000 in medical debt, and after the attorney took her cut, Sam had moreorless zero dollars.
Sam's leg has been swollen to the point that he can barely get pants on over his lower leg. It is red and angry looking 5 years later. The swelling has not subsided in the entire 5 years. He can't get work boots on. The doctors in the group that tended to Sam's ER needs as recently as two months ago said there was nothing more they could do for him.
Two years ago, Sam felt terrible and wound up getting four heart stints. The heart doctors said the terrible circulation in his leg was a major contributing factor for his heart troubles. About three months ago, he had some further heart problems, and this time, the ER doctor told Sam he had congestive heart faialure and the doc figured he had only about 2 years to live, because of both his heart and leg problems.
Sam has not been able to work since March of this year. He was told by still another employer that he no longer was needed. At this point Sam was having difficulty getting on and off his earthmover, he fell some, and he supposed that his employer looked at him as a liability, thus telling him he was not needed.
Currently Sam is wrestling with Social Security, and it looks like he m=probably will be approved, but he still is in the processing stage. An attorney he contacted two months ago regarding the workman's comp trouble reviewed his case, said it would be tough, but would tackle it. He and Sam communicated a couple of times early on, but nothing has been heard from the attorney in more than a month.
Please, someone, give me some information so I can work to try to help Sam. Sam's a hard-working guy. He has no insurance. His income has been less than $1,000 since March. He is still caught up on ALL of his day-to-day bills (ie power and water). We don't know what to do. I can see that he is spiraling downward. He has quit smoking. He does not drink. He wants to work, but really isn't able. His leg has been swollen for 5 years to the point of looking like it will split open with the slightest touch. His heart is failing. Prescriptions are virtually out of financial reach. I send meals to Sam so he has something to eat.
Somebody, please help us! Thanks for muddling through all of this. God bless!