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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Unhappy New To Worker's Comp, What To Expect

    I am a 36 year old male who has worked since I was 16 and never been injured on the job. On Aug. 4 '07 I was struck with a walk behind tow motor called a mule that carries steel coils. (the employee who hit me was drunk by the way wich is another story) I went to emergency room and was treated and released. The next day my shoulder and arm were in overwhelming pain and I couldn't move my arm. Work sent me to a doc who said pobably a rotator cuff tear and sent me to a specialist who ordered an MRI and then an arthrogram. I have been on light duty this whole time (5 months) up until last week and only getting about 32 hours a week because of Dr. appointments, physical therapy (which made things worse) and just horrible pain. I was taken off light duty because I have range of motion back but I am still in pain and lots of it. The specialist filed for surgery for a partial thickness tear in my supraspinatis and my labrum and told me I would be off work completely for 8 weeks. What should I expect. I can't afford not to work for eight weeks. Does workers comp pay my wages while I am off? If so how much? What about all the work I missed the past 5 months, about 140 hours. Do I have to have the surgery, can I refuse and just tough it out? What happens after the surgery? I talked to an attorney at one time but he seemed more intrested in getting paid than helping me understand all this and workers comp hasn't denied anything so I didn't feel I needed one at the time. This has got me completely stressed out. I am a single father trying to do my best and never asked for this. Are things just going to get worse. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Re: New To Worker's Comp, What To Expect

    You may have multiple options here. First off, lingle, I would like to know if the other employee was proven to have been drunk when the incident occurred. You certainly have a workers' compensation case. Your benefits are to be paid retroactively if you cannot work for fourteen days and be payable every two weeks following that as long as you meet the necessary criteria. That is, however, subject to your status in your claim, e.g., in full time medical treatment, in a qualified rehabillitation plan, looking for work and receiving non-working wage loss, or working and receiving working wage loss,which is the difference between a lower rate of pay if you have to work at a lower paying job your and your weekly benefit. There are some other factors, but that is enough to get you started.

    While I am not certain, your attorney, which you should not consider doing without and absolutely must keep shopping for, might recommend a civil tort, either together or separately with your wc claim. If he does not recommend or ignores your question you can strike out on your own to find a personal injury lawyer. I hope Beth can help with this, along with others who have some kowledge of the law.

    The nuts and bolts of wc law are something of a mess, not so much in the terms they are written in, but rather in terms of inadequate enforcement of rules and laws already on the books, to include the BWC and IC's outright disregard for the written codes that exact undue expectations and deny relief as is intended in the law, both statutory and administrative. The clilmate has been turning slowly in our favor due to the results of the last mid-term election that took the ball from the bad guys. Under normal circumstances workers' compensation is the only remedy for on the job injury except during a company sponsored recreational function.

    Depending on the degree and expected duration of your injury you can expect to have multiple medical examinations, some scheduled by the bwc, perhaps by your employer, and some as recommended by your counsel.

    You need to establish a doctor/patient realationship with a physicial that you want to declare as your POR (Phsician of Record) who is versed in the proper means for diagnoses, treatment, and reporting ONLY within the parameters of your allowed conditions.

    Should your POR, attorney, and yourself agree that other conditions be added to your claim at any time you will have to go through due process to file motions for hearing to determine whether those conditions should be allowed. Sometimes it is necessary to apoeal a decision unfavorable to you or to attend an appeal hearing due to an appeal by your employer. It is a pretty safe bet that your will be frustrated with the timeliness and adversarial maneuveing that are involved. That is the nature of the beast, although things are slowly moving toward more favorable outccomes for claimants.

    Then there is the potential for civil action. You may have a third party claim against the drunk employee if it can be demonstrated by common means thkat he was under the influence. If not, you only have recourse with workers' comp.

    Good luck
    Last edited by Greg; 01-25-2008 at 09:22 AM. Reason: dbv

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