My workers compensation claim was made in the State of: CA
Hi, I injured my left knee at work on 6/08/11, the medical diagnosis is a torn patella tendon and despite 3 months off to rest the knee, 14 PT visits and 1 cortizone injection, I'm still having a lot of constant swelling, pain, instability and stairs are extremely painful. Today at my appointment my Orthopedic doctor said he was declaring me permanent and stationary with the following restrictions of: no stairs/lifting, no kneeling/squatting and right now due to a flair up of swelling I am on a cane 100% of the time and sitting 80% of the time. I work retail so there is a very strong chance that they cannot accomidate these restrictions (at least the sitting one) longterm. My dr. explained that if they couldn't, they would pay me off with a settlement and to look into state disablity and or retraining for a new job. But he really wasn't that clear as to what this all meant and frankly I'm concerned that this means I will be laid off and be unable to find a new job (I do have an unused degree in healthcare admin but cannot seem to find an office or clinic willing to take someone on with only two months of internship experience, they all seem to want at least a year).
The questions I have:
1. If I am paid/laid off by my employer because of this, am I banned from working retail forever, or just this company? By that I mean if I absolutey cannot find anything in a different field and need to take a retail job out of despiration to pay bills, will that be violating anything (while I was on medical leave I was informed by my WC caseworker that if I took a new job with the same duties I could not perform at my current employer that that would be fraud).
2. Can anyone help me figure out how to estimate what any payout settlement might be so that I can make some plans in case I am laid off by my employer?
3. I'm not sure what my doctor meant by looking into state disablity because although my injury would prevent me from a stand up/physical job, I could perform a sitting down office type job. My mother went on state disablity at 39 due to chronic health issues caused by Type I Diabetes (neuropathy in her feet and a heart condition) but I remember that it was a long process she needed to hire an attorney to help her with (she passed away at age 41 due to the heart condition so I cannot ask her any questions about it)
4. Any general links that would help me to understand what is going on in a clear way?
5. My doctor didn't give me any paperwork (aside from my usual clinic sheet with my diagnosis, time I was in the office and duty restrictions noted for personal records and to fax into HR. Nothing about my "permanent & stationary" status or what to do), do I need to do anything? Should I find an attorney? I don't have money to retain one at this time.
Thank you for any information and I apologize about the novel.
---------- Post added at 07:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:59 PM ----------
Oh, also according to the doctor the only other treatment options are more PT (he doesn't think they will approve any more since I'm 6 months out and have not improved much beyond some improvement in range of bending my knee within about a month of the injury), surgery (he feels surgery will cause more harm than good and probably not improve anything at this point due to scar tissue) or cortizone injections (not a good longterm solution due to the side effects of bone thinning and possible necrosis of the tendons in the knee).