I could really use some advice....
So.. long story as short as possible: I am in a ton of pain, my condition is getting worse by the day because I am still (barely) working. My injury started in my wrists and now it is much worse, thanks to the lack of treatment from WC doctors. Apparently if diagnostic test don't prove something is wrong, then nothing is wrong. I was offered a settlement, I still can't get the work comp doctors to actually treat me, and I am contemplating the settlement. I would finally be able to get treated!! I am sick of the system, sick of trying to get treatment. I'm sick of the doctors, sick of the adjuster, and sick of my lawyer frankly. I just desperately want treatment, that's all I've wanted the whole time. But now I am wondering with the severity of my injuries, and injuries acquired from working on the original injury, if I should file a new claim for these injuries or take everything to court because it's so complicated.. or should I just take the money and run and go to a real doctor on my real insurance? And maybe hope that I can get some kind of disability if I should need it in the long run?
Longer version with details:
I have been getting the run around with Worker's Comp for several years. Of course, like anyone else on this forum, if I can go back now I would do everything differently so that I never ended up where I'm at now. I've had a lawyer for almost a year, and I am not sure that I feel like it helps my case. All I really wanted when I was searching for a lawyer was someone who could help me get treatment and get better. I went through everything with one doctor and he would always shrug and act like he couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. The diagnostic tests were never positive according to WC doctors, which apparently in this world means nothing is wrong. So I went out and found an equivalent specialist and paid cash to get an unbiased opinion. He told me that I did have carpal tunnel and that he sees my symptoms all the time and he can help me. I was thrilled as I had been crying daily at work in pain and my life had gotten pretty miserable living in chronic pain because of these people. I finally felt like someone was listening to me because everyone at work and all the doctors treated me like I was lying. I somehow got the insurance adjuster to switch me to him. (apparently he said no at first- he was outside of the list of doctors... and then a week later changed his mind- which should have been a bigger red flag, but my lawyer was pushing me to make a move and I just jumped for it) so once I finally got to go see him on workers comp, he was a different person. He treated me completely different. He acted like I was lying, had the nerve to ask about my home life (I was crying in the office- I got really upset about something that the adjuster screwed up that was going to affect my treatment, and nobody can ever get ahold of him, there is always an issue everywhere I go, etc.) and he basically told me the same thing the first doctor did: I can live with the pain or quit my job. I was appalled. I still am.
So now I am basically left with a settlement offer, or I can try to go through treatment with this guy. I've been down that road I know how to treatment goes, it doesn't help. I've never been prescribed any painkillers to help with the pain- only anti-inflammatory medications that don't do a thing for me. I was never given work restrictions or let off of work. I have been trying to work through this injury for years now and I am so messed up that I can barely write. My injury went from my wrist to my elbow's to every single joint in my hands and my shoulders. They all pop when I move and ache constantly. My muscles are all tight and ache and I've tried everything I can think of and nothing helps. And yes I have tingling/numbness as well but the pain is the worst part. As long as I keep working it just keeps getting worse. I spend all of my time outside of work trying to do nothing with my hands or arms and trying to soothe the pain with heat packs and ice packs and baths. I wish I had quit my job along time ago when it started to be honest with you but it's too late for that now. I have very obvious muscle atrophy in my hands. Other doctors outside WC have pointed it out and noticed it but my new WC Dr. claims he doesn't see it. My hands look like I just got out of the bathtub.. all the time! (I'm in my 20s) so I called my health insurance company and straight up asked them, and they said if I settle the claim they will cover my care. They said as long as the claim is closed they will pick it up like normal. For some reason I thought that they never would. I am still scratching my head about it.
So it seems like an obvious choice to me, now that I know they will cover it. My lawyer says that the claim will be closed as if there were no workers comp claim. I guess everything will be completely closed in the settlement paperwork. So a lump sum of cash (which is close in number to my annual salary) and I can still get treatment from my insurance company, but I will lose my job- which at this point doesn't even matter because I can barely work for a few hours before I have to dunk my arms in ice water for a few minutes of numbness before the pain sets in again. My body is screaming at me to stop. I really can't keep pushing anymore.
The claims adjuster has messed up several times. He has canceled several appointments after I was sitting in the waiting rooms (one time for an hour!) and the reasons he gave us for canceling them we're both illegitimate. This is something I could probably use in court. I also have a lot of discussions with the doctors recorded, including the one where the second doctor told me I have carpal tunnel. I'm so disgusted that these doctors will gladly violate the oath that they took, and not treat a patient who's in pain for whatever benefits they're getting. They should all be stripped of their licenses. The claims adjuster should be held accountable for doing the crap he's done. I'm sure it's typical for them to take as long as they possibly can to approve anything, but there are three times he really messed up.
So I guess what I'm looking for is advice. I don't have long to make a decision, but is settling a bad idea in my situation? I am terrified that I will have permanent problems from this. I could even end up partially disabled if I don't get any strength back in my hands. It hurts to hold a phone or cup of water even, and opening containers is impossible. I don't know anything about disability or acquiring it or any of that. I am afraid of making the wrong decision. I just don't have the strength to fight these people anymore, it has been a total nightmare. I've been deeply depressed for nearly a year, i'm really ready to do something about this. I don't know if I stand a chance in court against them but I really don't want to be under the blade of any of those doctors after the stories I have read on here. I think another EMG would come up positive at least for cubital tunnel but I don't know if it will show carpal tunnel on it and apparently that is all they go by. And I don't know if they would cover my elbows anyway even if I have symptoms in my hands from it. I'm assuming not, because this whole system is a joke. That's another thing, I was told they won't cover the other parts of me that weren't in the original claim. I suppose this makes sense but what am I supposed to do about the injuries have acquired from working on an injury, when it is all due to a doctors negligence? can I sue for malpractice?
I wish there were something I could do to help change the system.
Thank you if you manage to read all of this, I really appreciate any advice I can get. I'm not sure if I can legally say settlement numbers or doctors names or the insurance adjuster's name, but if I can legally and it will help someone, I'd be more than willing. I would love the opportunity to warn someone about these people, I plan to rate them on yelp and Google.
I can't figure out how to edit this thing, but I wanted to add in: since the injuries I acquired from working on top of the initial injury aren't covered, is this something that I should file a new workers comp claim for at work? Should I just seek treatment through my own insurance company? Since I know it'll be two years before I get treatment/settlement or I could get a botched surgery?
I also wanted to add that the sort of number that I wrote does not include the attorney fees- which are 25% here.