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I'm new here and I'm hoping someone can give me some insight into my current situation. Any advice or info you have is greatly appreciated.
On the 27th of Jan. this year, I started to feel pain in my left arm while I was at work. (I work for a screen printing company, doing manual printing, which requires repeated pressure on my arms) When I felt the pain, I didn't really think anything of it, because my job gets painful, and usually it goes away. When I got home, later in the evening I noticed that my left arm was swollen, and arm and hand were slightly reddish-purple in discoloration. This scared me, as I have heard horror stories about blood clots. I made an appt. with my dr. the next day, and after looking at my arm, she told me to go to the hospital immediately, that it could be a blood clot. Went to the hospital, and sure enough it was, and a large blood clot in three different veins. The Drs. were able to inject my arm with a high concentrate thinner and dissolve most of the clot. My suspicion was that this was caused from my job, yet all of the drs. were telling me that they didn't know why this had happened. Some said it could be from my work, they just did not know. This is also because I couldn't recall a specific traumatic occurrence, just that it had happened at work. They said it was very rare to happen in the arm. The Dr. (radiologist) that did the procedure on my arm said it was suggestive of effort vein thrombosis, which usually effects athletes and weight lifters. That there was some compression on my vein, which caused a narrowing. I am no athlete. I told them I used to work out, but it had been at least a year.
I was unsure whether I should be filing for worker's comp or short term disability. I had asked all of my doctors what I should do, and they could give me no definitive answer as to what caused it. They told me once I saw a vascular surgeon, they would be able to determine more what the cause was and how to proceed with the treatment. I decided that since there was no definite answer at that point and I had already been out of work for a few weeks, I should file for short term disability, to get a move on with some sort of payment. So, right now, I am waiting to hear about the disability, and it has been over a month.
In the meantime, I have been on a blood thinner, and having to get my blood tested frequently to make sure it is at the right level. I was able to get an appt. with the vascular surgeon this past Monday, and she told me that I developed a condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, that I have a build up of muscle, and it being so close to my first rib, is pinching my vein. That there was some trauma along with this, that caused the clot. She said it is due to the type of work I do and the way my body is built, being that I have a small frame. I need to have surgery asap to remove the first rib, and after that it will take two weeks to recover before I can go back to work again. But she said once I get this surgery, I am fine to go back to the same type of work, and I will be able to get off of blood thinners. So I started wondering if I should try and apply for worker's comp., because she was convincing in that it was in part, due to the type of work I am doing.
Since this dr is a well established surgeon, she is completely booked until the end of the month. So, I will be out of work for another 4 wks, and then 2 more after that. After talking to a few friends about my situation, they told me that no company likes to go thru worker's comp because it raises their insurance, and that my bosses will most likely give me a hard time about it. So, I called the patient coordinator at the surgeon's office, and she told me if I need to file for workers comp, I need to do it right away because it is quite a long process, and it will get in the way of my surgery date. She said it would postpone my surgery, and that I will have to do things like get second opinions from other drs, go thru a lot of paperwork, etc. She said it would also bring up red flags, that I applied for the short term disability first. And that it would take awhile for it to kick in, if it's even accepted.
So, weighing my options, that I need this surgery as soon as I can get it, and that I can't go any longer without an income, I decided to not pursue it. Will I regret this decision? Do you think I am better off filing? Thanks for taking the time.
I can only tell you that what you have heard about things being made more difficult could be true, if you apply for dissability first. I do know that you have to fill out a w/c form with/in a specific amount of time (in virginia it is within 48 hrs of the incident) so look into that situation too and make sure you have not missed that deadline. When I filled out my paper work, my employer first let me take all of my vacation leave, then my sick leave, and gave me the choice to use up family medical leave, before I began getting workman's comp. I would talk with your HR person at work, if you have not yet done so.
Keep us posted and I hope it all goes well for you.
Thank you for your advice and quick response. I saw that there is two years from the time the Dr. says it's work related, in which you can file a claim. So hopefully, I have some time to do more research! Unfortunately, the company I work for is small, and has no HR person. They offer no kind of sick leave, medical leave, and the vacation we have needs to be accumulated from the hrs. we work, and I've used it up. The person who is in charge of all of the accounting and HR type work, is one of my bosses.(Bosses are husband and wife) I mentioned how the Dr. said it was work related and she changed the subject quickly! No mention of workers comp, of course. But, I will look into it more. It sure would help with all of the expenses involved! Thanks again.
You can file for WC , and if denied can still collect STD. I am from Illinois and I did both. I filed for WC ,was denied, did collect STD untill a year later and was accepted by WC. Then WC had to pay back my ins co, for all they had payed me. In the meantime I got the treatment I needed.
Wow, that's excellent that you were able to get that to finally work for you. That is optimistic. I will do some more research, as I am getting different advice from different people. I think first and foremost, I need this surgery. If that would be able to get covered by WC in the future, that would be incredible. And is very encouraging. Thanks for the information.
Thats is mine. I was covered by WC until PM doc wanted to do the SCS then they claimed it was not WC. Got the SCS paid for under my insureance and once this goes back under WC they will have to pay them back. Had trouble with it at first because both WC and my insure was refusing to pay saying the other was suppose to but my lawyer got that taken care of
I am currently fighting a denied work comp claim in TX. Was denied 18 March 08. I applied for STD and FMLA in August when my treating Dr took me out of work. I knew that I wasn't eligible for the FMLA as I had used my 12 weeks the prior year after surgery on my ankle which was not work comp related. It took me till November to get my STD approved as my employer kept jerking me around. But that $3600 in back pay sure came in handy in December for Christmas.
The good thing was, while on STD, I was still able to carry my insurance for other health problems, even though I was termed from my employer on 4 October 08. As of 23 Feb 09, my 6 month of STD expired and I am now trying to get my LTD kicked in which could be in place till I am of age to retire if my work comp case is never accepted. However, as of 28 Feb 09, my insurance was cancelled as it isn't covered under LTD. I have as of yet to receive any more info on Cobra (received info originally in Oct 08 when terminated from employment as insurance was cancelled 28 Oct. but reinstated in November once they had my STD all approved.) for this cancellation and will be looking up laws regarding receipt of Cobra paperwork at time of cancellation here in a bit.
Anyway, to make a long story short, my work comp attorney is currently negotiating with the IC's attorney before our contested claim hearing set for 31 Mar., trying to get them to accept my claim and put me out on disability as of 24 Feb 09 so that I won't have to repay my STD. If I receive TIBS from WC, I can also receive LTD at the same time. It will just be offset by the amount that I receive in TIBS.
So I would say, apply for both. That way all bases are covered and you will receive an income of some kind if you are taken out of work for any length of time. Also, even if your employer is small, I would be checking into getting FMLA if you are out of work for any length of time. It will at least protect your job for the 12 weeks that you are entitled to.
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I totally agree with Tuffy and UndercoverAngel. The same thing happened to me. In order to get some of the payment, it is better to file for both. I know how hard is wait for STD and LTD to kick-in, but once you get it, it is easy to handle pressure with WC and also with paying your bills. You never know how long your going to be disabled and if WC is going to acept you case. Good luck!