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Experience in North Carolina
#1
My case was settled not long ago so I'm reflecting on my experiences. Upon looking back, it's too obvious the law firm handling my case mis-handled it repeatedly. I took a modest cash settlement with stipulations I was no longer employed and future medical costs wouldn't be covered (the present costs weren't covered LOL!).

Attorney stated I was clearly eligible for SSDI (awaiting an answer) although I have no disability rating and am clearly unemployable except for maybe a 'work from home' position that I'm probably not qualified for.

***************************************

Employer initially accepted responsibility for my injuries then backed out before the first surgery was performed. Only one of three necessary surgeries ( tendon reattachment) was performed and I paid for that one out of pocket. The other two (rotator cuff injury and lower back disk mis-alignment) weren't performed as they were considered unnecessary (at a later date) due to my age at the time and it was apparent I wasn't going back to work.

Orthopedist assigned a 10lb lift limit to my right arm, the one with the rotator cuff injury and tendon reattachment surgery. Other diagnoses included arthritis/bursitis in left shoulder and advanced arthritis pretty much everywhere else. Have trouble climbing stairs, lifting anything and working around the house/yard for more than a few minutes at a time. Using a cane after sitting for long periods of time and believe a walker will be needed not too far down the road.

*************************************

My case was handled strangely from the start. I informed my employer I was seeking medical treatment/advice and would take 'personal time' as my employment required me to travel extensively and constantly. Law Firms were solicited up front and only one agreed to take my case although 'repetitive motion' cases were hard to win - this was before I ever saw an orthopedist. Gallagher Bassett had also already classified my injuries as 'repetitive motion' and refused to send me to their doctor/orthopedist. My family physician referred me to an orthopedist within the same medical group; first opening was several weeks later.

Orthopedist appointment: Nurse did initial interview and we covered ALL problem areas. Doc came in and asked which area was giving me the most problems at that very moment and I stated my left shoulder. He requested an X-ray, announced I had a case of 'only' arthritis/bursitis. He gave me an injection, told me to start taking Advil, stated I NEVER should have taken leave from work for 'this'. When I stated we haven't addressed the other issues he stated 'they weren't important'. Truly unbelievable and incredible.

My employer was informed, was given a 'return to work' physical and passed, only because I didn't tell the attending PA everything that had transpired as I needed to restart my income ASAP. Attorney notified and no other action was taken. Harassment from my employer began almost immediately and my employer medical coverage was terminated without my knowledge. A couple of suspensions (and other 'activities') were metted out in lame attempts to get me to quit. Several weeks later I injured my right arm (tendon separation) and the next chapter begins.

***********************************

Orthopedists assigned by the worker's comp contractor Gallagher Bassett discovers the rotator cuff damage, disk alignment issues and advanced joint deterioration from arthritis. First surgery is scheduled (tendon reattachment upper right arm). On day of surgery Gallagher Bassett notifies the surgeon they have rescinded all previous agreements and nothing would be covered under worker's comp. Law firm notified, does nothing. Reinstated Group insurance refuses to cover as these are 'worker's comp issues'.

Union agrees to pay for the tendon reattachment surgery if I reimburse them - done. Union states I must also agree to reimburse them for all short term disability payments made to me - done. Long after the final settlement the union issues a claim for the above - I write them a check (cashier's check) for just under $23k per our agreement. Doctors decide that rotator cuff surgery and back surgery aren't absolutely necessary due to my age (60 at the time) and that I'm no longer able to work. They recommend physical therapy (self pay) - I attend a few sessions but stop due to inability to pay.

Our one attempt at Mediation was terminated by me when the mediator implied my attorney wasn't prepared and inferred that my case had been mis-handled from the beginning. I immediately asked for a new attorney who attempted to salvage the 'train wreck'.

We moved forward with a cash settlement that was max for my injuries according to the attorney, still a sizable increase over what the previous attorney was asking for but was much less than what I was originally seeking (isn't it always? LOL!). Although I praised the law firm for all of their 'fine work'(?) I was just glad to be done with the whole sorry process.

Ultimately, I felt that the attorneys and doctors were working in my employer's best interests rather than in my best interests. This is an out of state based employer with very high worker's comp claim rates and many known cases unsettled or not turning out as well as mine did because no attorney was brought in and their cases were mis-handled from the start.

I can begin collecting early Social Security and early Union Pension later this year; applied for SSDI last summer and am currently awaiting a decision.
 
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#2
Why should I read your very very long post?
Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
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#3
(01-11-2018, 12:00 PM)1171 Wrote: Why should I read your very very long post?

Why did you bother to respond? Did your perusal spot something that bothers you?
 
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#4
thought their might be more then personal reflection.
Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
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#5
(01-11-2018, 01:47 PM)1171 Wrote: thought their might be more then personal reflection.

Are you on a 'fishing expedition'? Does my case seem familiar? Hmmmm...
 
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#6
"Injured Worker Forum
An area where injured workers can post their general questions and provide assistance. "

there are 10+ years of personal experiences on the board. if you have no questions or need for assistance,
post away.....
Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
Reply
#7
(01-11-2018, 02:35 PM)1171 Wrote: "Injured Worker Forum
An area where injured workers can post their general questions and provide assistance. "

there are 10+ years of personal experiences on the board. if you have no questions or need for assistance,
post away.....

Perhaps those who choose to read my account will come away with an idea of what their potential outcomes could be? Perhaps they had similar experiences? Wondering what the true numbers are of people here in NC that have been failed by our Worker's Compensation system? To what degree? Everyone seems to know someone who fell through the cracks.

I have a neighbor whose employer doesn't carry worker's comp insurance (is that even possible?). He was injured on the job some time ago and his employer told him to file with the employer provided health policy and the employer would pay what the insurance didn't cover. He also has other employment related health issues but is waiting for his upcoming retirement so he can turn everything in under Medicare.
 
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#8
(01-11-2018, 03:19 PM)Cashiered Too Wrote:
(01-11-2018, 02:35 PM)1171 Wrote: "Injured Worker Forum
An area where injured workers can post their general questions and provide assistance. "

there are 10+ years of personal experiences on the board. if you have no questions or need for assistance,
post away.....

Perhaps those who choose to read my account will come away with an idea of what their potential outcomes could be? Perhaps they had similar experiences? Wondering what the true numbers are of people here in NC that have been failed by our Worker's Compensation system? To what degree? Everyone seems to know someone who fell through the cracks.

I have a neighbor whose employer doesn't carry worker's comp insurance (is that even possible?). He was injured on the job some time ago and his employer told him to file with the employer provided health policy and the employer would pay what the insurance didn't cover. He also has other employment related health issues but is waiting for his upcoming retirement so he can turn everything in under Medicare.
Cashier I found your story to be very informative. I too am going through a bunch of crap over a repetitive work place injury to my left shoulder. They are trying to say it is common in older people such as me!!! I go for my first deposition the end of the month... I wonder what kind of interrogation that is going to be ?
 
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#9
(01-11-2018, 03:55 PM)tinainky Wrote: Cashier I found your story to be very informative. I too am going through a bunch of crap over a repetitive work place injury to my left shoulder. They are trying to say it is common in older people such as me!!! I go for my first deposition the end of the month... I wonder what kind of interrogation that is going to be ?

Sadly, my first contact with an orthopedist was a disaster as he failed to investigate all of my issues. It took the new injury and subsequent examinations by a different orthopedist 3 months later to reveal my true condition. Even then I felt like I was mis-treated due to my age.

Deposition? My attorney sent 'discovery' forms (questionnaire) to me electronically, I filled them out and sent them back electronically. Just tell the truth but don't offer information not being asked for. Say no more than absolutely necessary. I found out that relying on attorneys and doctors to stand up for me was a crap shoot at best.

I also recall doing 'live' depositions over the phone with my employer's human resources department and worker's comp contractor (Gallagher Bassett) almost immediately after going out on leave.

You should already have a worker's comp law firm at your service before you move any real distance in this process.
 
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#10
Update:

I finally received an updated (corrected) W-2 depicting the subrogation involved in reimbursing short term disability pay back to the union. I've been promised a refund on the medicare taxes and social taxes deducted from the STD pay in question. Was able to file state and federal tax returns for free online and NOT itemize for the first time in nearly two decades - I actually collected EIC for 2017. Still awaiting an answer on my SSDI application filed last summer. Otherwise, I'll be applying for early SS and early union pension later this summer as I will turn 62 in the fall. Attempting 'spring cleaning' for the first time in a couple of years - I have to stop after about an hour then I'm hobbling around the house with a cane for the rest of the day!

**********************************

Neighbor's (probably work related) medical issues: The 53yo finally got into the NC DHHS system and has an answer on food assistance and goes this coming monday for his first appointment regarding Emergency Medicaid. This is the guy who developed a hernia and breathing issues several years back and thinks they are work related but he never turned anything in under worker's comp because he was a non-union construction welder for many employers.

He developed blood clots in his leg after being laid off last summer and is now incapacitated. He's hobbling around better but still unable to work. Still awaiting answers regarding housing and work training assistance. He stated he has retained a worker's comp law firm but I don't know the details yet. He also received some modest but welcome assistance to pay towards 'back rent' from the local Emergency Crisis Ministry.

**********************************

The 65yo neighbor took a turn for the worse recently and was scheduled for surgery related to his gall bladder and pancreas. He was supposed to have gone into rehab last week but that has been put off indefinitely. This is the guy whose employer didn't carry worker's comp insurance and expected his employees to turn in everything under the group medical plan. His current hospitalization may or may not be related to employment - he first fell ill several weeks ago a few hours after eating lunch at work. He initially thought it was food poisoning but it turned out otherwise. He's (was) a smoker but a teetotaler. He developed carpal tunnel syndrome due to employment but ended up having surgery done under the group medical insurance with his employer picking up everything not covered.
 
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