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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Marianna,FL
    Posts
    72

    Unhappy Florida Worker's Comp is a Corrupt System

    After 8 months of non-stop denials and 3 less than aggressive attorneys fighting chemical inhalation (sulfuric acid) injuries for me, and the fact I've had no medical care in the same amount of time, along with learning that my employer that I continue to faithfully work for even with a seriously pronounced abdominal hernia is about to fire me, I can now honestly say with no hesitation, the Worker's Compensation system in this state is CORRUPT!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,011

    Default Re: Florida Worker's Comp is a Corrupt System

    Don't kid yourself, WC is not the best for benefits in ANY state.
    Laws vary, none are consistant.
    Now that you have that off your chest... is there a question ?

    You should make yourself familiar with the FL comp laws... a well versed IW is the ER/IC worst nightmare.

    The comp benefits are limited. Often there isn't really much an atty can do, not the way we may think anyway. Attys can't change the medical evidence in your claim. Nor force the ER/IC to provide treatment/wage loss when there isn't medical evidence to support your claim.

    I'm not saying you -don't have the evidence, you that your doctors can't provide that. Comp is a legal system, as such, time isn't so important.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Marianna,FL
    Posts
    72

    Unhappy Re: Florida Worker's Comp is a Corrupt System

    Let me start by saying I have more than enough medical evidence to support my claim. Unfortunately, many attorneys as I have found, do not specialize in toxic tort (specifically sulfuric acid injury) cases. Since my last (also first) posting, I have retained an attorney (number 4) that specializes in this arena. Mediation is scheduled for 12/1/2009. Pretrial hearing 12/8/2009. Final hearing on 2/8/2010. I have been and will continue to research the Florida Statutes on Worker's Compensation. I stick by my assertion that the Florida Worker's Comp system is corrupt.

    1)Does an employer in the state of Florida have the legal right to fire an employee during an ongoing Worker's Comp case?

    2)May an injured worker sue the assigned Worker's Comp doctor for not placing a work restriction for an existing medical condition (hernia)?

    3)Is there a limit on the number of expert witnesses that can be present during mediation?

    Thank you

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Florida Worker's Comp is a Corrupt System

    To answer your questions:

    1). Yes, but subject to federal regulations regarding disability. If they fired you for being disabled then you could have an EEEO claim. But according to what you've said you didn't have any work restrictions (hence no disability) so that might be tough to prove.

    2). This is more of a medical malpractice issue.

    3). You won't have any expert witnesses at mediation. More than likely you won't have any at the final hearing either (they'll be deposed and won't appear live).

    It's unusual to go through so many attorneys in a case, and you seem to want to sue anyone and everyone involved in this case. You are accusing the workers' compensation system of being "corrupt" however you haven't even been to mediation yet. What does the "system" have to do with your problems? Keep in mind it's very difficult to prove an exposure claim, there is a higher level of proof required. Here's the statutory language (Fla. Stat. 440.02(1)):

    An injury or disease caused by exposure to a toxic substance, including, but not limited to, fungus or mold, is not an injury by accident arising out of the employment unless there is clear and convincing evidence establishing that exposure to the specific substance involved, at the levels to which the employee was exposed, can cause the injury or disease sustained by the employee.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Marianna,FL
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Florida Worker's Comp is a Corrupt System

    In response to ISLaw:
    I need to clarify some things. I have not been fired. I continue to work for my employer as I have all during this past 8 month long ordeal. I don't have any work restrictions because the fine Worker's Comp doctor didn't list any. I continue to work with a protruding hernia from all the coughing caused by the sulfuric acid.
    I am on my 4th W/C attorney because the first 3 were not versed in toxic tort injuries. I am not "sue happy" as you have me fashioned to be. I only want what is legally mine to have. That's all.
    This is not, by far, the only time I have had problems with Florida Worker's Comp. That is why I continue to contend that this system is corrupt.
    I greatly appreciate both your and BvIA's input.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,011

    Default Re: Florida Worker's Comp is a Corrupt System

    If you 've been involved in a comp claim prior to this, you know that filing for WC benefits under your ER' plan for industrial injury is the exclusive remedy for industrial injury.

    If you do not have any permenant disability or impairment due to this injury, there is little chance of recovery. WC provides for treatment to your injury, wage loss while you recover and possibly additonal benefits if you cannot return to work in your pre injury employment.

    As you talk about 'tort' action, It is entirely possible you do not belong in the WC system, but rather in civil/tort court.
    So far you are not reporting wage loss, as you continue to work... you don't have any restrictions to your daily life activities or job duties, and appearantly are not suffering any permenant disability or impairment that precludes you competing in the open labor market. (?)

    I don't know that WC is necessarily corrupt, but rather you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, for the wrong reason....(?)
    Possibly the four attys you have previously dealt or consulted with should have referred you to a civil action attorney.

    If your hernia is an industrial injury, requiring treatment, and you suffer wage loss, those would/might be compensable consequences to your claimed injury.

    I continue to work for my employer as I have all during this past 8 month long ordeal. I don't have any work restrictions
    Ok, would you mind defining what you are after ?
    I only want what is legally mine to have.
    There obviously is a conflict as to what that actually may be... What do you think is your 'legal' right here...? What are you ''entitled to''....under the statutes governing Workers Compensation ? That is not a challenge... I'm just asking what your thought process is.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Marianna,FL
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Florida Worker's Comp is a Corrupt System

    As it has been explained to me by ALL 4 attorneys, civil action is NOT possible due to the fact that Worker's Comp is the SOLE remedy to an injury occuring in the workplace, in Florida anyway. My injuries include chronic bronchitis and fibrosis (right and left lungs) caused by the sulfuric acid. And an abdominal hernia caused by repetitive coughing from the same.
    As far as the W/C doctor is concerned, he did not place me on any work restrictions while knowing I had a hernia. Not really a good idea since I have to move stoves and refrigerators in my job.
    Worker's Comp is for the injured worker. I have been injured. Therefore, I believe I'm entitled to medical treatment. That simple.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Florida Worker's Comp is a Corrupt System

    Did the hernia surgeon recommend surgery? Usually they want to do that right away. Note that you are always entitled to a one-time change in physicians or an IME if you disagree with your treating doctor. Or if the E/C will go along with it, a second opinion. I agree it seems odd that with a protruding hernia and a heavy duty job you don't have any work restrictions.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
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    Default Re: Florida Worker's Comp is a Corrupt System

    As it has been explained to me by ALL 4 attorneys, civil action is NOT possible due to the fact that Worker's Comp is the SOLE remedy to an injury occuring in the workplace, in Florida anyway.
    To my knowledge that is the case in all states.
    A claim for benefits under your ER's plan for industrial injury/illness is the exclusive remedy.

    That is my point, you should take the word 'tort' out of the equation here.
    And, IMHO, get the benefits/treatment to the hernia, which in turn may turn up the chronic bronchitis and fibrosis (right and left lungs) caused by the sulfuric acid as the underlying causation.

    If your treating physicans have not placed any restrictions on your in your job duties, due to the herina, and you continue to work, the ER/IC stance is you are not as ''disabled'' under the WC rules as you claim, And THAT is the reason you are hitting the brick walls.
    Everything in WC is based on medical evidence.
    You need a medical opinion/report to provide substantive medical reasoning to back up your claim.
    Worker's Comp is for the injured worker. I have been injured. Therefore, I believe I'm entitled to medical treatment. That simple.
    I think you need to better understand the premise of Workers Compensation.
    The ER/employer is liable for work related injury/illness. As such, the state requires 1) a ER post bond and become legally self-insured, or 2) purchase WC insurance from an ins company to cover that liability.
    The ER is the insured party, not the EE/IW. The medical treatment is but one of the benefits you are eligible for, not entitled to. Even though comp is no-fault, the IW is still charged with proving through the medical evidence and opinion of their treating physican, they are to be provided the treatment within the accepted treatment guidelines.

    I know that sounds like alot of language to describe WC... but it's not the same as if you were seeking treatment under your own health coverage. If you were paying the bills, you could have any/all treatment you or your IC were willing to cover. As the ER/IC is paying here... they won't pay for any more than the law demands.

    There is no ''entitlement'' in WC.
    You/we are entitled to those things we pay for, ie. SSA, Medicare at normal retirement age, SSDI if we meet the qualifiers, driving on Americas highways... we pay for those 'entitlements'.
    Yet another reason to keep good feelings between you and your ER... The ER pays the premiums, and has much more pull with the carrier than any IW ever will.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Marianna,FL
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Florida Worker's Comp is a Corrupt System

    Again, a trillion thanks to both BvIA and ISLaw for the great guidance and advice.

    To ISLaw:
    Yes and No. The Worker's Comp doctor did recommend and refer me to a general surgeon for the hernia and a pulmonologist for the lung problems. After which the claim was denied by the I/C. This is the same doctor that did not place me on any work restrictions. Seems real fishy to me.

    To BvIA:
    Like I indicated to ISLaw, the entire matter with the doctor not placing me on any work restriction seems rather odd, especially since I have a hernia that's ready to break out. With any type of job, much less the one I have, it would seem the right thing to do.
    As far as having medical opinions and reports, I do. Both from the Worker's Comp doctor and the Health Department doctor. Both indicated that I need surgery for the hernia and need to see a pulmonologist.
    You are 100% correct when you assert that the chronic bronchitis/fibrosis and the hernia are associated with each other. My biggest question now is will my attorney and I/C attorney treat this as a single issue or multiple issues.

    To both BvIA and ISLaw:
    May I send email?

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