Firstly, I wanted to say thanks for all your efforts and for taking the time to help those of us in need of your expertise. It’s very easy to get confused and frustrated throughout the process of applying for Workers Compensation (WC) benefits and understanding the pertinent laws. Especially if/when an attorney is needed.
I will do my best to keep this as short and straightforward as possible but will gladly send more detailed information if you would like me to elaborate. I was injured six years ago (July 2013), on the job in Connecticut. I was a state worker at the time and the injury occurred during work hours while at my job site. Last fall (09/2019) after receiving my disability rating and determined to be totally and permanently disabled I was approved for “disability retirement” effective (retroactive) to 09/2018.
My case was pretty clear cut. I got hurt in 2013, was approved for the initial workers compensation payments (I believe it’s called TTD which is also what I’m still receiving). I was immediately approved to receive workers compensation and begin physical therapy and did not require an attorney up to this point and for several months after while I was being treated. I found that my blood pressure was very high at the numerous doctor visits, it never was before my injury, so I took it upon myself to schedule a physical with my physician. He was also concerned and referred me to a cardiologist who confirmed my cardiac functions and muscles were fine. He also provided me with a letter stating that, “if it were not for the pain (I) was in, (I) would not have high blood pressure”. In between appointments with my cardiologist and physician, I received a letter from WC asking me to go for a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). I immediately called to schedule the evaluation and the first thing they asked me was if I had an issue with blood pressure. When I told them what was going on they said that would need to be resolved before I could be scheduled for the FCE. Two or three days later I received a packet stating that they were calling for termination of my workers compensation benefits because I have “high blood pressure and that’s why I cannot go back to work.” It was at this point that I finally was forced to retain an attorney. He is currently my attorney to date. We have not always agreed on how my case is or should be managed. He actually asked me several times to try and convince my primary care doctor and my cardiologist to “just give me permission to participate in the FCE”. He and I had a few hot tempered exchanges where I questioned his logic. Ultimately, I and my doctor(s) disagreed with the attorney’s recommendation and the FCE was never scheduled. I would like to again note for your consideration that I took it upon myself to schedule an appointment with my primary caregiver regarding my blood pressure which is what led to me seeing a cardiologist. As I mentioned above my attorney was trying to get me to just get my physician to approve my participation in the FCE (which my doctor refused to do). I apologize that this is so long winded, I’m trying to supply you with only the facts I think you would need, but I have often felt like I’ve been managing this whole case myself and that my attorneys input and counsel has actually been to the detriment of my case. The cardiologist ultimately gave me the letter referenced above stating the blood pressure is pain and injury related. Eventually during the second informal hearing regarding WC threatening to vacate my benefits, my attorney (while in the meeting) took the letter from my hands slid it across the table to the commissioner who in turn called out the WC attorney and said, “what are we even doing here? It’s right here, the blood pressure is pain related. Why was this filed!? Motion to vacate denied”. The WC attorney actually got flustered and said “I didn’t file that!” Haha. To his credit, this was this particular WC attorneys first time representing WC on my case because my attorney changed the venue from Hartford, CT to Bridgeport, CT (because his office is in Fairfield). Right after that meeting while walking across the parking lot to our cars my attorney says something about a fund that has money that I should be using. He made it sound like there was an extra source of income so I happily and stupidly agreed. I went right to his office the next day thinking I would be getting “more” money and signed some form giving him permission to have my checks sent to his office. Just like that he’s been taking 20% ever since (going on six years now). This payment was never ordered by the court, I agreed out of ignorance and also fear of losing my “representation”. Our contract has language that says he will not seek restitution or payment until there is a court decision. I can get specific dates and language if you think it would be helpful. That’s pretty much my whole story as accurately and honestly as I can recall. I would really appreciate any feedback as to whether you think I have any chance of getting these payment the attorney is taking stopped and if any portion can be reimbursed. I have paid him over $50k since this transpired. If yes to either question, how should I proceed? Is there a review process that I can request to determine if these should continue, should they have ever even started?
FYI - he had nothing to do with the retirement. That’s completely separate. Additionally, I’ve mentioned this situation to an attorney my aunt worked for, my accountant, and a few people that are more learned regarding the WC process and everyone seems to have an incredulous response when they find out that he’s taking money from my check.
As I mentioned above, I’m still receiving TTD payments and my attorney said they will basically continue under this code until I’m no longer walking among the living because “the state doesn’t usually want to settle.”
I’ll stop rambling at this point and wait for, and pray for, any reply. Please know though that I completely understand if there is no reply, I’m not paying you at this point so I don’t expect anything. Second, thank you again, sincerely, for all your efforts in the past for everyone you have helped. Third, if it is what it is, I’ll make peace with that. I guess this is my first sincere attempt at getting a second opinion. I think I will actually sleep better at night if I find out that I’m not being taken advantage of. The money he’s taking would go along way toward getting the bills paid. We’re not even making it paycheck to paycheck.
Thanks again so much for taking the time to read this.
Very best regards,