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WA State newbie
Greetings, I am a newbie, taking it slow, but now need to dig my heels in Big Grin . Been with company, same job over 30 years, several wonderful reasons why I have stayed. On vacations I observed my shoulder pain went away. Six months of self observation, finally filed claim, employer is self insured. They ordered 12 sessions PT. PT didn't help, then they sent me to IME. IME Dr said "not work related" but ordered MRI. Report had 3 findings, all work related: repetitive motion injury. I picked my own Ortho Dr, he gave me 3 cortisone shots in shoulder until I could schedule surgery around work (my choice). Surgery in Aug 2011. 4-6 week estimate for recovery, disappointed it took until Nov 7 before I could go back to same job. Attended all PT. Back to work 25hrs/week, as per original schedule before all this happened. Things went well for few weeks. By Christmas pain was bad, got another cortisone shot. Helped a lot. Dr said shoulder still had "ticked off tissue" and I went back to same job. IME last Thursday. He went so freaking fast for evaluation. Took husband with me. IME said no more "curative" treatment can be done. I cannot take pain killers as I handle money, too much risk...could make mistake that would cost me the job. I also know they can be addicting and not healthy. Pain has continued in area not operated on but did report in spots before surgery. I see my Ortho dr next week. Thinking of asking for reduction of work hours to 20/week, and not work past afternoons which is a busy time and pain will become substantial. Ergonomic specialist yesterday observed me and said he had no suggestions on further corrections or ergonomics.

Do I need an attorney? I have no college, am at top of my pay range, full benefits, maxed out vacation, all I could ask for. Smile I cannot get this in another job. I am top performer and receive high marks in my job. I know if I continue in this job I will have to accept the pain which is not acceptable. Dr originally approved me for 8/hr days but I cannot do those (they are infrequent) because pain usually begins about 2 hours after I start. It still disrupts sleep, but it is better than before surgery, so I did get some relief from surgery.

Any advice u have I am appreciative of. I am a newbie, but really frustrated because I don't want to go thru attorney, but don't know how deep the water is!!!!

I don't want to get taken advantage of, but I have appt with private primary ortho next week, so perhaps u can give me guidance.
An appt with a lawyer is a good idea to let you know what your rights are.....if you went to work for this person right out of school I am guessing you are in your 50s so you dont want to lose this job and start over but in the same sentance you say you cant do the job anymore...so is there a job in this company you can do?will they move you to it?if they will ask them for it....if they wont then your only recourse is to use a lawyer to get enough money to retrain into something you can do...be prepared those that are self insured are tighter than than tight....
........I love cats, I just cant eat a whole one by myself......

appears that you are more in need of information about a career change and a new job then a lawyer and litigation.
the state of washington does provide vocational rehabilitation as part of it work comp benefits.
find out more here
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.
Yes I am in mid 50's and went to work for them right out of high school--no college. Desk jobs with this employer are very limited and full-time positions, that complicates my further career with them, or there would be no problem. I have been stressed out knowing if I leave this company, I lose all of my benefits, perhaps I could get that if I could get on with a company that has some of them. I'm also going to lose my seniority. I do know I must change something to get out of the continued repetitive motion. Thank you for the URL for vocational rehab, I will read that today.

Is it okay if I ask my Dr to reduce my hours or do I have to get him to make the recommendation?

Thank you!!!
Yes, you should discuss work restrictions with your doctor.
If the employer is able to provide modified or alternate work, they will need a detailed description of your physical limitations.

Under Federal ADA law the employer is required to discuss with you reasonable accommodations to your disabilities.

more here
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.
Thank you!! I want to follow proper protocol. I sure don't want to leave this job, but I cant continue without some modification. I am encouraged that I have vocational rehab as an option. I had been looking on my own, jobs are hard to find, but I won't rule that out. If I apply at a prospective employer, can they legally ask me if I have ever had a w/c claim?? And lastly, am I understanding correctly that my current employer needs to provide modified work conditions before I choose vocational rehab?
they can ask about work restrictions and limitations.

no, the employer is not required to hold a job or create one for you.

a background check could reveal past litigation and including worker compensation.
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.
Thank you, I can't think of any other questions to ask, however if u feel I should know anything before I see my Ortho, lmk!
I was told by the IME that they want to close the case. I am not sure what my rights are. I do believe I will talk to an attorney who deals in w/c issues, but what is the process by L&I to close the case? Do I have to sign something? I realize I am asking specific questions but I am looking for feedback from those who have gone through the system. I didn't even know until threes weeks ago that they were going to offer me a settlement. Thx!!
you would have to agree to any buyout of benefits.
if you don't want that and you believe additional treatment will return additional function you can dispute their decision with medical evidence of your own.
you can chose to keep your claim open and accept periodic disability payments based on your impairment rating.

before your benefits can be finalized the extent of permanent partial disability will have to be determined.
More here:
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.

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