This is such a long story, and such a mess, but I'll try to keep it brief. To anyone who finishes reading this post, and offers advice, thank you in advance!!
My husband is a truck driver (tanker). On December 5 while making a delivery (involves turning levers, dials, and using a fair amount of upper body strength) he thought he had pinched a nerve in his neck. (It happens once or twice a year, and a couple sessions on the inversion table, a few Advils, and he's good as new in a couple days). He stayed the night at a hotel on the 5th and the morning of the 6th as he was showering for work, he had a horrific pain shoot from his neck to his right hand. Long story short, it was at that moment that he herniated a disc in his neck. (We found this out later on his MRI, but I'm getting ahead of myself.)
From December 7 through the 16 when he realized this was more than a pinched nerve, he went to the chiropractor 3 times, urgent care, and our family doctor, all to no avail. The family dr. ordered a MRI on the 16th, he had it on the 17th, and got his results on the 19th. Herniated disc between C6-C7. Over the course of the next two weeks, he went to an orthopedic specialist who read he MRI/radiology report and explained to us what was going on, referred him to pain management for an epidural, and to PT twice a week. He had his epidural on January 3 and it helped only marginally. He is still in a fair amount of pain, but he returned to work on January 7 I believe it was.
The problem is with his employer. (I should note that his employer is my stepfather--a small business owner.) When all this first went down, he told my husband to do what it took to get out of pain, told him to take a couple weeks off, get his epidural, and "hopefully we won't have to file for workers comp." Employer had an employee file workers comp a while back that put him in the high risk pool, and his rates skyrocketed. He only recently got out of the high risk pool. He led my husband to believe that they would work something out as far as paid for time off, taking care of medical bills in-house, etc.
So fast forward to today. My husband FINALLY sat down with his employer to talk about this. (He's been trying since Christmas, but it was "never a good time.") Then employer was out of town for the first two weeks in January on a Hawaiian vacation. My husband took in all EOBs from our insurance company, all receipt from the numerous doctors he's seen, etc. and explained his side of the story and asked if he could be reimbursed for medical expenses. He was told that this was NOT a work related injury, that filing a claim would put him back in the high risk pool and his rates would double, and that he needed to "man up and pay his own medical bills." At this point, we're in the hole about $2,500 for bills so far, and he will probably need another epidural since the first one didn't work very well. Follow-up appt. is January 31. So anyway, he basically told him no, but pointed out that he had oh so graciously paid him for his 2.5 weeks that he took off in December, and offered to pay for his physical therapy appointments. Later in the conversation, he informed my husband that all the time he took off in December was actually going to be considered his vacation time for this year--he just borrowed against it. So basically he WASN'T paid for his time off...he just borrowed against his vacation time.
I'm so mad right now I don't know whether to s**t or go blind. What the holy **** is going on here, and what are our options??? I called the State Board for workers comp in Georgia today and was told that most WC claims are filed within 30 days of injury, but that my husband could still call the insurance company and try to file the claim himself. If they deny it, then it'll go to the WC Board in Atlanta for review?! This is so friggin ridiculous, I just can't even. If we DO take this route and file a claim, things will get ugly, I imagine, because the insurance company will contact my step dad, or the WC Board will, or SOMEONE will, and what could have been solved with a company check for $2,500 may turn into some type of investigation, or a claim that will end up costing employer a LOT more than $2,500. The big thing is, it will make my husband's job a living hell. I'm pretty sure they can't legally fire him for being injured, but they can make it so miserable for him that he will quit, right?
I don't know if this is relevant, but I would like to add that this employer is doing *very* well for himself, and $2,500 to him is nothing (NOTHING). I think it's more a matter of principle, and him being a penny pincher. I would also like to add that my husband received no special treatment because he works for family. If anything, he is worked harder than anyone else there. They have several drivers, and my husband is usually the first one gone in the morning and the last one home in the evening, so it's not a matter of him already having been done favors or anything like that.
I'm so so sorry if this is mis-categorized. To the mods...I saw that there was a support forum. If this needs to be moved, please feel free and accept my apologies!
To anyone else who has gotten this far, what would you do?? Do you have a similar experience (not necessarily with the family aspect of it, but with filing a delayed claim), etc.?