Florida Worker's Compensation - Help For Injured Florida Workers

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Miami,FL
    Posts
    39

    Default Workers Comp Rights After an On-the-Job Injury

    On the 8th of October of this year I was injured at work, I had pain in my lower back and it was shooting down my side (right) all the way to my foot. I originally thought it was my ankle shooting up and we're still not sure (I get the MRI results tomorrow)

    My injury happened due to a large amount of work at one time (My manager was on vacation a week and the other guys slacked a bit, when he returned I had to do a 12 hour shift to straighten the store back up (The Home Depot)) and ended up getting hurt in the process

    I'm not blaming them, crap happens. Anyways what I'm worried about is the fact they keep trying to make me go back to work and I'm too hurt. I reported the injury within 12 hours and went to the doctor, it's been a few weeks now and I'm still in pain and last Monday night I woke up with both of my legs on fire and I couldn't move them. It was horrifying. I'm worried to death nothing will show up on the MRI and they will make me go back to work, but I'm in so much pain it's ridiculous.

    My worry is because the first doctor I saw was a 'hard ass' and he put me on 'light duty' that I could not perform, I ended up just calling out from work and having to go home early constantly. He also gave me ibuprofen and then 'tramadol' (which it turns out I'm allergic too :P) and then he went on vacation. Thank god too because the guy who filled in for him gave me 'lighter duty' which involved no "sitting, standing or walking" more then I was comfortable with, and gave me Hydrocodone. With these changes I've been able to get through the past few weeks but I still can't work.

    Now I've hired an attorney and he is very lazy, doesn't return my calls, and is never in the office. However he did manage to tell me all sorts of wonderful things when I was signing his contract. One of them being a very depressing future for the next few weeks. Im not sure how much I trust him to be honest....


    Anyways I'm worried to death they are going to try and make me go back to work without fixing me and tell me nothing came out on the MRI or downplay my injury. I'm in a lot of pain and I think something is seriously wrong with me.

    It has just come to my knowledge that everyone works for the insurance company and it is their job ultimately to get me back to work with no cost, not treat me. If the MRI shows something do I have any standing? And if so what? What if the doctor downplays my injuries? I can't go back to work I'm in too much pain. I want them to put me back the way I was before the accident.

    Also to note, when I say I'm not a wuss I quite mean it. When I was 15 I cut through my pinky, ring and index finger to the bone with a machete (hiking accident :P with some friends) and didn't even take pain meds. I got my wisdom teeth (all 4) and 6 cavities filled in the same sitting when I was 17 and only had to take the pain meds twice. Last year I tore off a fingernail in a power saw and took no pain medication except ibuprofen. I'm (24 now) not a wuss by any means but this hurts a lot, it feels like a pinched nerve (We're assuming herniated disc or something)

    What do I do? I'm running out of funds rapidly, I can't work. Do I suck it up and work slumped over, doped up and in tears while risking further injury? Do I quit and forfeit all my chance of benefits including medical (so I've been told) what do I do?

    Thanks for any help.

    ~V

    Also to note, they sent me to physical therapy not long after I got hurt (About a week) and there is still not a diagnosis.. the stuff they made me do there made it hurt more so I canceled all therapy until further notice (Thanks to permission from doc #2 ^^)

    Just thought I'd mention that since all details are important

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    312

    Default Re: Ok Here It Goes

    First of all, I would seek another Attorney if your not happy with the one you have now. Most places won't let an employee in there bussiness if there taking narcotic pain meds.
    It sounds like you have a disc pressing on your sciatic nerve.
    Are you seeing you Dr or the Ins Co Dr?
    If the IC is giving you the MRI, and it comes out neg, I would get a second oppinion from my own Dr.
    Did your first Dr give you any restrictions?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,021

    Default Re: Ok Here It Goes

    Now I've hired an attorney and he is very lazy, doesn't return my calls, and is never in the office. However he did manage to tell me all sorts of wonderful things when I was signing his contract. One of them being a very depressing future for the next few weeks. Im not sure how much I trust him to be honest....
    Where might you suppose your atty is all day... ?
    WC is a volume business, attys take 100's of claims at no fee, and are rarely in the office as they are the ones who attend the hearings to support your contentions you are entitled to the benefits you are requesting. If attys took calls, or returned all the calls IW's demand, there would be NO time to represent any IW in their claim.
    Your atty isn't 'lazy'...he's working a lot harder on your claim than you are. (?)
    I want them to put me back the way I was before the accident.
    Sorry. WC is set up to treat your injury, pay wage loss while you recover, and some money/indemnity if there is any permenant impairment due to this injury.
    Treatment goals are to functional restoration, and a return to gainful employment. Whether that is pre injury condition, or job doesn't matter.

    You say there is no diagnosis yet... there will be once the MRI results are provided to your treating physican. And a treatment plan will be discussed with you. If you are suffering from a 'soft tissue injury', there is virtually nothing to be done that you haven't been doing alredy. Not surgery.

    The type of injury you describe IS painful. Pressure on any nerve in the spine can cause pain of a "10", meaning you are about to go into shock and pass out. That still doesn't mean there is a need for surgical intervention. And you should get used to this IF that is the ultimate diagnosis. The pain can be gone for long periods of time, and suddenly, picking up a piece of paper from the floor, BAM... the pain is back.
    If the IC is giving you the MRI, and it comes out neg, I would get a second oppinion from my own Dr.
    MRI is a MRI. There could be numerous opinions to what the MRI films provide. Getting a new MRI out of pocket...very costly. And unnecessary. Get a copy of the film, have your doctor interpert his findings.

    What do I do? I'm running out of funds rapidly, I can't work. Do I suck it up and work slumped over, doped up and in tears while risking further injury? Do I quit and forfeit all my chance of benefits including medical (so I've been told) what do I do?
    If your treating physican says you cannot work you should be receiving TD, if you are light duty and the ER can offer you a position that fits your restricitons.... and you don't comply you could see your benefits jeapordzed.
    No, you do not quit your job. No...NO...no.

    Cancelling the treatment as Rx by your doctor was NOT a wise decision. When you refuse to cooperate with the treatment offered, again, you could lose your benefits. You would be FAR better off to discuss the exercises you are given with the therapist and work out a program you can do. PT is more than ''exercise'' and could well be the treatment that resolves your injury.

    Next posts... try to keep it to just one or two questions... and not so much dialog. ThanX.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    florida
    Posts
    622

    Default Re: Ok Here It Goes

    If you are released to rtw with restrictions and the employer has work available for you within said restrictions then you should return to work. If you do not then the employer/carrier will likely deny your entitlement to temporary partial benefits. I agree with BvIA on the resignation. Do not do it.
    Your medical treatment will be determined by the results of the MRI.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Miami,FL
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Ok Here It Goes

    It's something called an annular tear and some other stuff. Though they say there is no signs of anything that can cause the pain down my leg.

    They gave me the same restrictions, and no the home depot I work for hasn't been able to give me anything that falls into the restrictions but still insist I come back to work.

    They are going to send me to a specialist next week. I called my lawyer again today and got put on voicemail and still no one calls me back.

    I don't care if he has 100,000 clients I want to talk to my goddamn lawyer about what I need to do, it looks like everyone is trying to **** me over.

    I'm not going to be in pain forever and the doctor even didn't want me to be on the Hydrocodone doctor #2 prescribed.

    There is no justice. I'll have to do something stupid if they don't fix me.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Ok Here It Goes

    Don't "do something stupid" to anyone. Everyone is just doing their job the best they ca, it's not personal. An annular tear does not cause radiating symptoms. It is usually fixed with something called an IDET procedure. Not pleasant, but effective. You'll see your ortho next week and he will give you instructions.

    If you feel you need another lawyer, pm me and I'll give you some referrals of very good lawyers. Why do you need a lawyer anyway? It sounds like everything is progressing as it should. You are getting medical treatment. Your employer is accommodating your restrictions put forth by your doctors.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,021

    Default Re: Ok Here It Goes

    If your ER cannot make the accommodation to provide work on a light duty, or alternative job you go back to your Dr, and get a change in your status form TPD to TTD. Temp Parital/Temp Total Disability. The restriction are on you, not your ER, not your job. The queston is whether or not the ER can provide the job you can do.
    Your attorney is not going be able to change your restricitons, force the ER to comply with the light duty or create any work for you so ER can comply.
    I don't care if he has 100,000 clients I want to talk to my goddamn lawyer about what I need to do, it looks like everyone is trying to **** me over.
    If s/he did have 100K+ clients....and was spending time handling your issues, I'd have to imagine there would be the same amount of bitching around your town, with/without good cause.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Miami,FL
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Ok Here It Goes

    An annular tear does not cause radiating symptoms.
    But I have the symptoms, I can feel the pinched nerve down my right leg, sometimes both, sometimes left.

    Lemme type up what the MRI report said;

    MRI LUMBAR SPINE WITHOUT CONTRAST

    HISTORY: Rule out disc herniation

    TECHNIQUE: Multiple pulse MRI sequences were performed in multiple planes through the lumbar spine without administration of intravenous gadolinium

    FINDINGS: There is no acute fracture, subluxation or dislocation. The vertebral body heights and the alignment of the lumbar spine is maintained. There is narrowing and desccation of the intervertebral space at L5-S1, the remaining intervertebral discs are preserved.

    There is normal bone marrow signal characteristic seen through the bertebral bodies.

    The portions of the spinal cord seen are normal in size and signal characteristics, the conus ends at the level of L1.

    At T12-L1, L1-2, L2-L3, L3-L4, and L4-L4 there is no disc herniation. The spinal canal and neural foramens are patent.

    There is a facet joint and ligamentum flavum hypertrophy at the level of L4-L5

    At L5-S1 there is a bulging annulus with a small central disc protrusion containing high T2 signal intensities representing an annular tear. There is a facet joint and ligamentum flavum hypertrophy causing mild stenosis of the spinal canal. There is moderate bilateral neural foraminal stenosis. There is no evidence of nerve root impingement.

    The portions fo teh abdomen visualized are within normal limits

    IMPRESSION:

    1 NO EVIDENCE OF ACUTE FRACTURE, SUBLUXATION OR DISLOCATION.
    2 NARROWING AND DESICCATION OF THE INTERVERTEBRAL DISCS AT L5-S1 CONTAINING A CENTRAL DISC PROTRUSION AND ANNULAR TEAR WITH NO EVIDENCE OF NERVE ROOT IMPINGEMENT.
    3. THE REMAINING LEVELS OF THE LUMBAR SPINE ARE WITHIN NORMAL LIMITS
    Then the rest is crap about digital signing and stuff.

    Anyone make anything of that? Why can't they see the thing that pinches the nerve in my right side? (Sometimes left or both sides)

    I went to the clinic and talked to them about taking me out of work. They said it's impossible and when I pressed the matter actually gave me a paper with LESS restrictions.

    I had to fight to get them to put my restrictions back.

    My restrictions are as follows;

    No pushing or pulling more then 20lbs of force
    No lifting more then 20lbs
    No walking/standing longer then tolerated
    No sitting longer then tolerated
    No driving company vehicle
    Now The Home Depot took me out of "Building Materials" where I work and put me in the phone center. I appreciate that but 4-5 hours of sitting hurts like a mother****er and standing/walking hurts too.

    I am on Hydrocodone (Doc #2 gave it to me ) and my boss has a shit-fit about that saying I'm not supposed to take that at work. But I do anyways.

    Also I've been calling out unable to move around... I don't know what any of those findings mean but it seems to be downplayed. It hurts to move around, it hurts my leg because of the nerve. But they say they didn't find anything... wtf?

    Ok anyways. Work says they can't give me any lighter duty. Which I understand I'm already in the phone center. I just can't withstand the pain with or without the pain meds for more then 15-60 minutes.

    Help?

    Thanks for the support so far it means a lot ^_^

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,021

    Default Re: Ok Here It Goes

    That MRI report and findings basically say you have a ''soft tissue'' injury, and believe it or not, most often these resolve on their own over time. Some people longer than others, some shorter.

    The pain in your legs is commonly known as 'sciatica'...hurt...yes definately. But as you have noticed, it comes and goes... as you said, sometimes worse on one vs the other. But I have the symptoms, I can feel the pinched nerve down my right leg, sometimes both, sometimes left.''

    Now The Home Depot took me out of "Building Materials" where I work and put me in the phone center. I appreciate that but 4-5 hours of sitting hurts like a mother****er and standing/walking hurts too.
    So your ER is willing to accommodate you with your restricitons, ...but, there is always that proverbial 'but'...you want to decide what type of light duty you can do... and the phones are not included in that. (?)
    Work your way aroung this site http://understandingspinesurgery.com...ns.asp?d=bray&, I think you'll find you are far better off than you may think.
    Anyone make anything of that? Why can't they see the thing that pinches the nerve in my right side? (Sometimes left or both sides)
    Because ''bone'' shows with contrast, and your problem is muscular. "Soft tissue''.... its a strain, like a cramp that is causing your pain.

    I am on Hydrocodone (Doc #2 gave it to me ) and my boss has a shit-fit about that saying I'm not supposed to take that at work. But I do anyways.
    You are placing your job in jeapordy, and you are placing your comp benefits in jeapordy. Your restrictions are on YOU not your ER, not your job.

    I don't know what any of those findings mean but it seems to be downplayed. It hurts to move around, it hurts my leg
    It would be common for a Dr to diagnose 'soft tissue' injury initially, a short course of PT, possibly trigger point injections etc etc... until the IW screams loud enough ''there is something wrong''...in your case, you have had the MRI and the findings are 'normal', not unusual. And yes it 'hurts'. Staying at home in bed or a recliner in front of the TV does not help further recovery.

    I'm not minimizing your injury or pain. But I would question... what do you want the Dr to do...?
    If even through MRI there is no diagnosis beyond what has already been found, what is there to do. You can't create a problem to treat, if there isnt one there.
    I just can't withstand the pain with or without the pain meds for more then 15-60 minutes.
    Follow your Dr restrictions, work the phone, and get up periodically to walk around. I have never seen any EE at Home Depot that 'sits' in one position for more than 15-30 minutes at one time.No pushing or pulling more then 20lbs of force
    No lifting more then 20lbs
    No walking/standing longer then tolerated
    No sitting longer then tolerated
    No driving company vehicle

    Those are standard, typical restrictions for a soft tissue injury. This will resolve on it's own. Ask your Dr about trigger point injections, or Botox to quiet the muscle spasm...there are alternative to 'pain meds'. If they don't work, talk to your Dr.

    You are very fortunate you have a ER willing to accommodate you, many would just say no, nothing there for him. You on the other hand have a job to go to.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Miami,FL
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Ok Here It Goes

    Just spoke to my lazy attorney. He says that I don't really have a case, it's just a herniated disc (I sent him the info) and that the doctor I've been assigned to is "In the insurance carriers pocket" so I'll have to go back to work regular with less if any restrictions.

    The system is corrupt. There is something wrong with me and I just think people are refusing to acknowledge it because of money.

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