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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    12

    Exclamation Fire Fighter / Paramedic Suffering an ACL Injury

    I am a Firefighter/Paramedic that was injured on a search for an elderly man back in December. I had to have my ACL replaced. On top of this there were complications with the surgery. They say it will be six months to a year before I can return to work. I have a few questions that you all may be able to help me with...
    I received my first worker's comp check the first week in February, but I have been reading that it is supposed to be retroactive to the day of the injury if you are out more than 21 days. So, do they owe me money?
    Also, when I am released to go back to work (I have been told that I will never "really" be the same as before), do they owe me a settlement or is the WC check stopped and that is all she wrote?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: FF/Paramedic ACL injury

    WOW! You need to play your cards right from here on out. 1st of all They owe you from the date of the injury if they accepted responsibility for it! ie: If you got hurt Jan 1st of this year and you didnt start recieving benefits untill March 1st of this year yes they owe you from Jan 1st till March !st retro (only if they ACCEPTED responsibility...in other words if they didnt try to dispute the injury and started paying you benefits they "accepted responsibility") so yes they would owe you retro back till Jan 1. 2nd If your doctor says "you will never be the same" then he should present you with some kind of "permanent partial disability rating" and NO it is NOT "all she wrote" they will be liable to you for the rating on your permanent partial disibility and possibly future medical bills, just depends on what you and your lawyer agree on in your settlement. Here is the link to the NC WC Act website and its formulas to compensate for compensable injuries. It is kinda hard to decipher but here it is.

    http://www.comp.state.nc.us/ncic/pag...tute/97-31.htm

    Good Luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Fire Figher / Paramedic ACL Injury

    WOW! You need to play your cards right from here on out. 1st of all They owe you from the date of the injury if they accepted responsibility for it! ie: If you got hurt Jan 1st of this year and you didnt start recieving benefits untill March 1st of this year yes they owe you from Jan 1st till March !st retro (only if they ACCEPTED responsibility...in other words if they didnt try to dispute the injury and started paying you benefits they "accepted responsibility") so yes they would owe you retro back till Jan 1. 2nd If your doctor says "you will never be the same" then he should present you with some kind of "permanent partial disability rating" and NO it is NOT "all she wrote" they will be liable to you for the rating on your permanent partial disibility and possibly future medical bills, just depends on what you and your lawyer agree on in your settlement. Here is the link to the NC WC Act website and its formulas to compensate for compensable injuries. It is kinda hard to decipher but here it is.

    Alright, let's see here...the insurance company never bucked the claim. In fact, they took a recorded statement from me and about a month later(they said after my surgery) the checks started coming. I had to call to find out if it was a one and only check or what. Also, I really didn't think that I would be out as long as I have been. However, It wasn't my doctor that said I wouldn't be the same, it was someone that works EMS/Fire three counties away that had the same surgery I did w/out complications. If I am not mistaken they give you a rating if you have a surgery in the joint right? I'm new to this guys, I'm just trying to get my ducks in a row before I take action. Forgive my ignorance...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9,076

    Default Re: Fire Figher / Paramedic ACL Injury

    Rating is only available to those with permanent impairment. If you recovery fully then no additional disability.
    For basic information on North Carolina work comp benefits see their website
    http://www.comp.state.nc.us/ncic/pages/faq.htm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Fire Fighter / Paramedic ACL Injury

    Being a firefighter/ems, are you a state employee?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Fire Fighter / Paramedic ACL Injury

    Normally ems or Paramedic is county or city I would assume. Dont know that the state employs EMS or Paramedics.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    831 East Morehead St., Ste 355, Charlotte, NC 28202
    Posts
    3,783

    Exclamation Re: Fire Fighter / Paramedic ACL Injury

    If they accepted liability for the case then they owe you from the first day you were out of work due to the injury. And if they pay more than 14 days late, then they owe you a 10% penalty for paying late. You need to make sure they are paying the correct amount, too--all overtime and bonuses are included in the calculation.

    Don't worry about your permanent impairment yet. When a joint is entered surgically for repair or reconstruction, the doctor is supposed to consider a minimum impairment rating of 10%, but for an ACL reconstruction it could easily go to 15% or 20%. But this is only important if and when you return to work. Do not accept money for a rating if you have not returned to work, because you will be shooting yourself in the foot if you do. If you are unable to return to your old job due to the injury, and take another job that pays less, they may owe you more than the impairment rating, but if you take the rating money, you cannot get the lost earnings money. IF that scenario occurs--you return to work for less pay--you need to consult a good work comp lawyer about your options. Assume that the insurance adjuster DOES NOT have YOUR best interest at heart (he or she doesn't, so that is a fair assumption).

    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 and Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Fire Fighter / Paramedic ACL Injury

    There are some things you can do to get the ball rolling. Dont be in any BIG hurry to get a lawyer and I say that with the upmost respect to any lawyers who participate in our forum. You want to make sure they are right for you and have the knowledge and experiance to provide you with the best legal representation. With that being said (and I know I'll be fussed at ) you can contact an IC Ombudsman @ (800) 688-8349 or (919) 807-2501 who can give you enough advice to get started and not risk loosing benefits. I cant remember but a form 18 I think is the initial form to fill out for a WC claim and a form 22 determains the amount of benefits (hope you already made sure the insurer has filled out a form 22 as they can short change you *and usually will* on your weekly benefit amount.) So with that info I'd most certainly Call an IC Ombudsman right away and also start your search for a lawyer. FYI once you get a lawyer you can no longer talk to an ombudsman.

    Good Luck! Keep us posted!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Fire Fighter / Paramedic ACL Injury

    Thank you all so much for your feedback...
    I have a little twist on my situation that you may find interesting. I was working part time as a Paramedic and volunteered for my local Fire department. Both are County affiliated, not state. I was with the Fire Department on the search when I was hurt and it is a Volunteer service. I have no clue how they came up with how much to pay me w/c checks (they never even asked), but I must say that it was a little more than what I made at my part time job. However, it seems as if my part time employer all of a sudden doesn't need me anymore after finding out that they may have to share in my w/c payments. My son starts kindergarten this fall and I had planned on working full time then. At this point it is a challenge just to walk down a flight of stairs, I can't imagine pulling hose, lifting stretchers, crawling around in wrecked cars. I'm just afraid that this job that I really love is pretty much over...
    As for the money, I'm not looking to screw anybody over but I'll be damned if I will let them screw me over in the process. Since it goes back to the day I was injured (12/5), first check was first week in Feb., they owe me a little bit.
    Thank you all again for your advice, it really helps!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Fire Fighter / Paramedic ACL Injury

    With what you said in your last post I wouldnt request a form 22 at this time. If you file for it and your drawing more than you are supposed to the insurance carrier will most certainly try to make you pay any over payments back to them

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