Indiana Worker's Compensation - Help For Injured Indiana Workers

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    6

    Default Injury Attributed to Degenerative Disc Disease

    My workers compensation claim was made in the State of: Indiana

    This is one for the books, folks. Hoping someone here can lead me in the right direction. Here goes. 55 yrs old, interstate trucker, work accident while on the road. Tore rotator cuff and kinked my neck very bad. Went to hospital. When asked where it hurt, I simply said I was kinked very bad in the right shoulder and neck and I couldnt raise my right arm at all. Emergency asst wrote 'shoulder' on my claim. Hence, when I was recommended for and had surgery for the torn cuff, the neck was next, or so I thought. During my rehab doctors and phys therapy people all agreed, I was not doing well on rehab due to existing neck injury. WC Insurance refused it, because it was not on the claim. Long story short, settled my case recently and was denied neck treatment (diagnosed by surgeon as 2 bulging disks at C6 C7) because the WCI claimed the neck injury was a result of long-term degenerative disk disease and refused to compensate for it. Jump to conclusion - I got a settlement, no surgery, and I am still hurt and having to consider surgery using my wife's Blue Cross/Shield for the surgery. Struggling with the decison because I have heard bad things about this surgey not really helping much, and I am out of work and cannot drive truck anymore. I have no income. I have been fighting with doctors and lawyers and specialists for 2 years now and - poof. I am on my own. What are my options? I live in Ohio and Florida(yeah I was a snowbird), but worked out of Indiana. I was fired by my company the morning after the accident because I walked out into the parking lot of the clinic to give my wife some paperwork and they claimed I left the lobby and refused to let me drug test and called it a refusal by me! (as stated in a sign in their lobby that I failed to see) so I was hung out to dry. Been driving for 27 years and never had a failed drug test or a DUI in my life. The last 2 years have been a multi-state bureaucratical quagmire that has caused me to lose my house in Florida and buried me in debt. I don't know what to do here. Can I collect unemployment after almost 2yrs? My doctor and my lawyer here are urging me to file for SSI. From what I have heard, the wait time will be enough to cause me to lose my home in Ohio, too. Any comments, suggestions and/or helpful hints would be greatly appreciated. Just read this forum while asking questions on Google and hoped there were some knowlegable folks here - thanks for listening.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,017

    Default Re: Looking for Help and Suggestions

    I have been fighting with doctors and lawyers and specialists for 2 years now and - poof. I am on my own. What are my options?
    If you have exhausted the litigation process provided in the WC system...you're right, you are on your own.

    Apply for SSDI...you have 5 years from last date worked. Yes...there may be a significant time delay in getting benefits, and possibly a significant appeal process. The longer you wait, the more in potential benefits you leave on the table.. SSI...when you apply for SSDI, SSA will automatically determine if you are eligible for those benefits/SSI as well.

    Not much to offer you here... there are no other cash benefits available.
    Unfortunately, you 'settled' the shoulder claim, where the neck should have been included in the same claim.
    That should have been litigated, in WC court at the time. Difficult to go back now unless there are provisions for reopening that claim.

    There may be SOL/Statute Of Limitations here too.
    You need to talk to other attorneys in the state where the claim was filed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    3,012

    Default Re: Looking for Help and Suggestions

    Had you been my client here in NC I would have encouraged you to litigate the denial of the neck injury. That was winnable here, I think. Don't know about Indiana.

    But if you have settled your claim on a full and final basis, then you are on your own. Getting approved for SSDI or a new job are about your only options. You may be able to file for unemployment now since you got fired. Check into that. Good luck.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney at Law

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Looking for Help and Suggestions

    Thanks for the suggestions guys. I am filing for unemployment as soon as the claim is closed (just signed and notarized the agreement this morning and in the mail back to them) and consulting an attorney per SSI. He thinks I am a shoo-in for SSI. Thanks again for the replies!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Looking for Help and Suggestions

    Can you draw unemployment while litigating SSDI?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    3,012

    Default Re: Looking for Help and Suggestions

    I think you would possibly expose yourself to criminal charges of fraud if you are claiming total disability while also drawing unemployment.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney at Law

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,017

    Default Re: Looking for Help and Suggestions

    Quote Quoting truckster View Post
    Can you draw unemployment while litigating SSDI?
    Yes.... the basis for UI is that you are activly seeking employment 'suitable' to your condition.
    SSA determines SSDI eligibility, technically that you are unable to perform ANY type of work at the time you are determined "disabled" under their rules.

    All situations are unique to the individual...you need to discuss your concerns/options with a competant SSA attorney. Message boards are generic at best, and info here should not be taken as legal advice to your situation.

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