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Bulging Disks, Annular Tear, Doctor Says Back to Work
A co-worker of mine was injured on the job. At first the ER told her not to go to the company doctor, and they tried to threaten her with termination (because she had write-ups in her file). So my co-worker went to her PTP, and the PTP pulled her out of work for X weeks, and sent her to a specialist. At one point, the facility manager told my co-worker that she would call the PTP, and threatened to speak with the PTP and have my co-worker working in the shop with no limitations the next day.

Well, the specialist sent her for an MRI, and she has four bulging disks and an annular tear in one of them. The doctor recommended PT, and sent her back to work (??)

We both do the same type of work. My PTP and specialist ordered PT and "NO WORK". And I have less bulging disks and no annular tear.

When my co-worker asked the specialist about the annular tear, the specialist just kind of shrugged and bypassed the question.

I don't know what to think, and I'm not a doctor. But it just seems odd that the specialist would send her back to work with an annular tear... and not answer her question about it.

Any thoughts, input and advice is greatly appreciated...
It sounds like the employer is already playing games, in my oppinion I would seek out an attorney that specializes in wc.. Pt can be helpfull with the bulging disks but dont understand why for the tear too. Did she file a wc injury claim.....? If you post the state we could answer more specificly for wc is state specific...
I agree about getting an attorney. In my State, following an injury we have to see our employers medical provider for the first week. After that we can stick with them, or find a doctor of our choosing. I would look into that if your co-worker feels the treating doctor was a bit off... something to do during the waiting process that is always involved with attorneys.
She has an attorney that specializes in WC. The attorney's response was (at this point) to go back and try to do the light duty the employer is offering. And she has the right to get a 2nd opinion.
But sending her back with an 'annular tear' ? That REALLY struck me as odd. She said that the boss threatened to call her regular doctor. I kind of wonder if the boss talked to the specialist that sent her back with the tear...
(Is the employer allowed to talk to the doctor ?)

She tried to file a claim, and the boss told her that if she filed a claim, then with her write-ups and the claim, she would probably be fired (she has no proof that the boss said that). She wanted to see the company doctor, and they told her no.
We are in New York. And as of yesterday, she still does not have a Workers Compensation claim umber.

She says that they are being nice to her while she does light duty. I told her to keep her guard up.

The whole thing just seems odd.
Actually it dont seem odd because her employer and thier dr cling together and will make her life miserable... Her attorney is correct, if he says she can return to work....she has to try it. Even though the tear is present, it is thier medical oppinion and she has the right of a second oppinion.. Her attorney is dragging thier feet, a wc claim needs to be filed . Hopefully someone else will shine in that knows New York wc .......
an employers failure to file a comp claim is against then law; it's fraud.
she can report the claim directly to the comp carrier.
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.
Im not familiar with NY work comp laws. But Im fairly certain that in every State you can't be fired for a work comp claim/injury, unless they can prove you are not being honest or faking it. If that was the case they would have probably done so already.

Im also pretty sure they can't lump her write ups with a comp claim as to many stikes against her... Two completly different issues. That is like your car insurance premiums going up because you had strep throat... Good luck to her, sounds like it could be a bumpy road.
Also, Im not sure if her boss is 'allowed' to talk to the doctor, but in my case my employer always had constant communication with my doctors. They can't just take my word for what was happening. I always assumed it was allowed since they were paying for all my appointments and treatments. Even if it was not legal, I would I given them permission, I had nothing to hide. When you try to put up walls it looks like your hiding something. You might be just a private person, but that is not how ICs see it. When your "difficult", they will be too... again, just from my experience and what I have heard.

I had a great, very open relationship with my employer and the IC, and because of that they kept me in their system for much longer than most people and approved more treatments than most. According to a couple of my doctors anyway.
Again, good luck.
Unfortunately, NY is a no-fault employment state. That means that while they cannot fire her for filing a work-related claim, they can fire her for any other reason. Yes, she could try to file lawsuit for wrongful termination/retaliation by the employer, but the burden of proof would be on her.

I definitely agree she needs a good attorney. Depending on your location, I can recommend a few. PM me if you need.

If she can work on light duty, she definitely should. But she also needs to file a C3 report of injury. She can do that on the WCB website. http://www.wcb.state.ny.us. also she needs to do it SOON. there are limitations as to how long she has to file the injury. And yes, it is illegal for the employer to not report the injury.

Your coworker needs to 1) report the injury to the WCB (get the attorney's help if possible); 2) get a second opinion - even if the employer has a network of doctors, she can choose her own after the first 30 days of treatment; 3) be prepared for a battle. this employer seems to be really difficult to work with.


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