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Employer avoiding using workmans comp
#89
An interesting read. Here in NC, it is like I'm dealing with some weird egregore that controls everything from my family medical provider, employer, worker's comp management, worker's comp doctors, etc. The predominant thinking is if it's not a specific injury on a specific date at a specific location you're screwed.

My injuries are predominately repetitive motion - lifting in nature. When I first took leave in September 2016 to seek medical opinions, the worker's comp contractor turned me down flatly. I went to my primary care physician who got me a referral to a orthopedist, who stated there was nothing wrong with me and refused to do a thorough examination. His written statement to the NC Labor Board was far different LOL!!!

Went back to work after being off for nearly 6 weeks. Harassment started in earnest. Multiple suspensions for trumped up 'performance issues'. Only one Worker's comp law firm agreed to take my case while I was off but did nothing, claiming they were unable to get any orthopedist to see me due to my group insurance refusing to pay as they saw this as a 'worker's comp' issue.

Group insurance was dropped while I was off (without my knowledge) and was finally reinstated about 2 months after returning to work. Less than a month later while out on the west coast, I experienced a 'tendon tear - separation' injury in my right arm - emergency room physician states I should fly home for corrective surgery. Fly home, workers comp manager sets me up with a local orthopedist on 45 minutes notice - tell her there is no way I can make it. Phone the worker's comp law firm, explain what just transpired and they make an appointment for me with the exact same orthopedist for two days away.

Orthopedist sets a surgery date for the tendon repair and states he'll look at the other issues at a later date ( both shoulders, lower back, left hip and left knee). On the morning of the surgery, the orthopedist and hospital are informed by worker's comp management they have rescinded their recent agreement to accept responsibility for any and all of my work related orthopedic issues. Group insurance won't pick it up because they determined it was 'worker's comp' in nature. My union (IAMAW) agreed to pay for the tendon repair (but nothing else) if I reimbursed them for the surgery and the partial short term disability pay that had yet to start - I eventually received only 66% of the 60% portion of my average wage at the time.

Orthopedist found a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder after an MRI was finally ordered for this but nothing else (surgery not recommended?), disk alignment issues in my lower back (surgery not recommended?), arthritis in my left hip knee and pretty much everywhere else! To this day, I feel that an MRI of my left hip and knee would probably reveal much more but that will have to wait until I become independently wealthy. The orthopedist assigned a 10lb weight limit to my right arm, I walk with a limp and use a cane on occasion, have trouble completing minor household tasks without having to sit down due to back, shoulder, knee and hip pain. Oxycodone doesn't help with the pain all that much and turned me into a zombie, so I stopped taking it last fall.

I asked for and received a new attorney from the worker's comp law firm. The new one was slightly better but was only interested in quickly disposing of the case. I can no longer work in my chosen field as I can no longer receive a medical clearance. The settlement includes language that my employment would be terminated, I couldn't seek a future medical remedy from my employer, no set aside for Medicare as I wouldn't seek Medicare coverage for at least 30 months although the attorney recommended I immediately apply for SSDI (I did, but have yet to hear anything).

Will be applying for my union pension and early Social Security later this year (I'll be 62 at that time). There was enough cash in the settlement to pay back the union, pay legal fees, paid off $18k in debt (now debt free) but little else. Still have unpaid medical bills related to my worker's comp case and for medical issues going back to 2015 but they'll have to wait. I will really struggle to make it through this year unless I sell off some possessions. Credit score of around 600 not helping either.

I came away from this feeling that no one was truly acting in my best interests. If I hadn't spoken up repeatedly and stood up for myself I would probably be unemployed, broke, crippled, sold or gave away my possessions and living with a relative.
 
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RE: Employer avoiding using workmans comp - Cashiered Too - 02-26-2018, 12:04 PM

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