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Old Injury - Still Receiving Treatment
#1
I fell from an unsafe work condition a few years ago.  This resulted in an injury to my cervical spine.  I ended up being off work for a few weeks.  However, the injury still bothers me and I'm constantly dealing with chronic pain.  I've been in and out of PT for the past few years.

My neurosurgeon recomended that we take a more conservative approach with pain management rather than surgery.  So he referred me to a pain management Doctor.  In the mean time WV WC requested that I have an IME done to determine if I needed pain management.  So as I waited in pain for several months s for that and several more to be approved I'm seeing a pain management Doctor.

My neurosurgeon stated that I needed to be on work restriction.  But the IME said I could return to full duty but recommended I "take it easy and don't lift anything heavy".

My job requires me to lift heavy items in excess of 75 lbs often times on ladders and while alone with 0 assistance.  Since my injury, it has been extremely difficult.  Additionally I drive a lot in a company vehicle, and my area was made larger so I'm driving much more which after about 40 minutes I'm in horrible pain.  Obviously with the nature of work, this precluded me from being able to take my pain meds other than anti.inflamatory which helps a little.

When I do re-injure I seek care at a emergency clinic if it's bad enough.  But usually this is only compensated with pain meds that I can't take anyway due to my job.

I've been trying to find a different job that's more desk bound.  This has been difficult.

I feel like I should be on a work restriction of some type since I often re-injure myself when doing certain duties.  The chronic pain has affected my family and social life as well.  I'm also on-call often for a week or 2 at a time this also prevents me from taking my pain meds even when off duty.

I'm really tired of pain and dealing with this all the time.  It was an injury that could have been prevented but management would not acknowledge it.  I feel like I'm paying the price for it. 

 I do not want to sue my company, but need to know what all my options are.  I can't keep living like this.
 
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#2
Was a safety complaint filed with OSHA?
Did you try to rebut the IME at the time?
Have you filed new claims on the re-injuries?
At this late date In your current situation, It,ll be a fight to get even limited disability.
If you are out of work during the dispute, you have to be able to live without wages until its resolved.
There is little you can do to overturn the IME opinion within the work comp system without some type of litigation.
Workers compensation is "no fault" insurance and you can,t file a civil suit against your employer.
Outside of workers comp you can try to get SSDI but you need very persuasive medical opinion that you can't/won't be able to work for a year.
You can go back to your surgeon and discuss the surgery option again.

More information about disputing the IME opinion here
http://www.wvinsurance.gov/ooj/OfficeofJ...tions.aspx
And here
http://www.wvinsurance.gov/ooj/OfficeofJ...nters.aspx
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
(08-04-2016, 12:53 PM)1171 Wrote: Was a safety complaint filed with OSHA?
Did you try to rebut the IME at the time?
Have you filed new claims on the re-injuries?
At this late date In your current situation, It,ll be a fight to get even limited disability.
If you are out of work during the dispute, you have to be able to live without wages until its resolved.
There is little you can do to overturn the IME opinion within the work comp system without some type of litigation.
Workers compensation is "no fault" insurance and you can,t file a civil suit against your employer.
Outside of workers comp you can try to get SSDI but you need very persuasive medical opinion that you can't/won't be able to work for a year.
You can go back to your surgeon and discuss the surgery option again.

More information about disputing the IME opinion here
http://www.wvinsurance.gov/ooj/OfficeofJ...tions.aspx
And here
http://www.wvinsurance.gov/ooj/OfficeofJ...nters.aspx

To my knowledge a safety complaint was not filed with OSHA.  I was not sure I was supposed to initiate this.  An investigation was completed by management and the area was made safe with lighting and hand rails.

I did not rebut the IME.  Initially I was told the IME was only to determine if I needed referred to a pain management Doctor.  The IME concurred with my surgeon that I did need my pain managed.  But also in his report he stated I could return to work in full duty.

That's where I'm perplexed.  I was never off of work except when first injured for 2 weeks.  That was 2 1/2 years ago.  I had been working, and dealing with the pain and comp in the process doing PT.

My claim is still open.  I'm still receiving medical treatment from the doctor based on the claim.  

The IME was this past February.  Another of my concern is my personal safety due to the injury.  I often climb ladders as well as access laters to building roof tops.  I have radiculopathy and my right arm will go numb and I lose my grip and feeing.  I brought this to the attention of the IME and he said that I should not climb ladders.  But this is part of my job!

I inquired on disputing the claim.  I was told I could not.  So apparently this isn't the case?
 
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#4
You can have an injury and file a comp claim without being off work.
If you believe you are unable to perform the full duties of your job and you have supporting medical opinion, you can protest the insurance carriers decision.
The fact that you are continuing to work the full duties weakens your position.
Fear of re-injury is not considered a disability.
Saying you can't climb yet continuing to climb makes your claim for additional disability suspect.
You can,t request disability payments for being unable to climb and also expect to get paid for a job where you are climbing. 
You can have permanent partial impairment and permanent disability benefits and still work.
I,m not sure there is much you can do to obtain additional disability benefits if you are unwilling to give up your current job or litigate the claim. Contact the office of judges if you want to protest your situation. Contact a work comp atty if you want to litigate.

There is no situation where you can get paid for not working and yet continue to work.
You can do lighter work and get some partial disability. As I posted, it maybe awhile before you find such work.
You have some difficult choices to make.
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
(08-04-2016, 08:44 PM)1171 Wrote: You can have an injury and file a comp claim without being off work.
If you believe you are unable to perform the full duties of your job and you have supporting medical opinion, you can protest the insurance carriers decision.
The fact that you are continuing to work the full duties weakens your position.
Fear of re-injury is not considered a disability.
Saying you can't climb yet continuing to climb makes your claim for additional disability suspect.
You can,t request disability payments for being unable to climb and also expect to get paid for a job where you are climbing. 
You can have permanent partial impairment and permanent disability benefits and still work.
I,m not sure there is much you can do to obtain additional disability benefits if you are unwilling to give up your current job or litigate the claim. Contact the office of judges if you want to protest your situation. Contact a work comp atty if you want to litigate.

There is no situation where you can get paid for not working and yet continue to work.
You can do lighter work and get some partial disability. As I posted, it maybe awhile before you find such work.
You have some difficult choices to make.
Have you looked into hiring an attorney?

It sounds like what you are doing, climbing ladders when your hand goes numb is a dangerous situation for you.

You are not in my state, but I see similar scenarios where people are working with chronic pain and are in this limbo. 1171 provided some links and I recommend to read them. Getting to know your states wok comp rules will help you. If you need further assistance you should contact an attorney.

My advice is to try and get a different type of job that is not physical. If you are not qualified try to go back to college while working and get another skill set if you can.
I am not an attorney.Anything I write should not be considered legal advice.I am writing from my own personal experiences,which is not from any sort of legal background. You should consult with an attorney over legal issues. In California, if you cannot get an attorney you can consult with an I&A officer.
 
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