I was injured in July 06, swapping trailers as a truck driver. The injury was a pinched nerve (C6-7). After several bouts with PT that were unsuccessful I had a three level fusion (C4-6) in January 08.
I was listed as Permanent and Stationary in June. Had QME in August. I got the QME report from the Dr. today. It says I have 48% whole body impairment. Also have apportionment of 20% due to previous conditions, age, etc. So my permanent disability is about 38%.
I know there is a chart that lists what % is worth what $.
That sounds cold but as a result of this injury and subsequent surgery I will never drive truck again. It has been my career for more than 17 years. In order to make the kind of money I was making before the injury I will need to get a 4 year degree. I started school, through the Department of Rehabilitation at the end of August.
I have some $25,000 in my SDI account, or so EDD told me in June. That won't last thru 4 years of schooling.
My first question is this: Is it reasonable to want to get 3 years of pay as settlement before the medical comes into play? I have learned to be quite frugle since they pulled me off the road completely in May of last year but $25K will still work for only about a year.
I think that the IC rep said something about $30K for 30% (or something similar) and that isn't going to help me get thru 4 years of school.
Also, the QME Dr. said that I will likely develop "adjacent segment disease and therefore reservation for future surgery should be given." What does that mean?
I don't want to get 'lifetime medical' because this company has already changed hands 3 times in the 2 years since I was injured. I feel it would be too easy for them to say 'that isn't our case' and deny a claim if I were required to have future surgery.
I am sorry this is so long, but I would appreciate ANY information I can get.
I do not have an atty at this time. The adjuster I have dealt with so far has been great, no delay with treatment, PT, MRI's, pain mgmt referrals, even when we realized that surgery was necessary there was no problem getting it authorized. I just want to know what is reasonable to expect.
I have a friend who suggested that I ask for '4 years pay (apx $165,000 then double that number for pain, suffering, the scar that looks like I had my throat cut, depression at the loss of my career, etc.'. That seem extreme to me. I was hoping for the $150-160K so I wouldn't have to worry about rent and food while I go thru college.
Can anyone tell me if that is reasonable or not?
Thank you in advance for your help,