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job searching while on workman's compensation

I was fired from my job after fracturing my bones in my knee and tearing my ACL, MCL, meniscus while at work.

I have been out of work since 3/19/09. Apparently this is a long recovery time (6-9 months). I was not able to drive and could barely walk. The nurse that is handling my workman's compensation claim has set me up with Physical Therapy and a surgeon. The surgeon gave me two scenarios: 1) continue physical therapy for another 6-9 months until I am walking and driving normally, then discuss surgery 2) because I am on workman's compensation, he has an obligation to get me back to work asap so surgery will have to be scheduled sooner. (Problem is: I was let go from my teaching job- I don't have a job but need to find one before the school year starts in late August)

The surgery is elective but the surgeon highly recommends it since there is a high risk of future injury to my meniscus and arthritis in my older years. I am already 40, so my older years will be here sooner than I want to admit.

I still walk with a limp and do not feel comfortable driving yet since I cannot move my injured leg quickly enough to move from the gas pedal to the brake quickly enough. For fear of injuring someone else I have not chosen to drive. It's just a matter of time before I am able to walk and drive normally. I am hoping within the month.

Here's the problem:

I am a school teacher and only have a short window of time to find a new job. I postponed surgery from June 22nd to July 27th hoping I would be able to find a job and get off workman's compensation and obtain medical insurance before it runs out 8/31/09. Surgery can be postponed until next summer.

I have sent out 15+ application packets to numerous school districts and have heard nothing.....until two days ago! I have a job interview and the only day they have set aside for the interview committee to come in is Wednesday, July 29th! That's two days after my ACL knee reconstruction surgery!

If I have the surgery on 7/27, I cannot attend the interview and will be out of a chance to get a job and will remain on workman's compensation for 8-12 more weeks and then switch to umemployment until I find a temporary job to run the course of the school year. Unfortunately, t
hese jobs are hourly/daily rates and do not offer insurance.

I can postpone my surgery but the next available date is 9/28! If I go to the interview and get the job I can wait for surgery until next summer and make sure the surgery is scheduled early in June. If I don't get the job, i still have surgery scheduled and will continue on my workman's compensation then unemployment until I find a job.

Has anyone ever been in this situation where they were fired, put on workman's compensation, needed surgery at some point, but needed to find a new job at the same time for fear of running out of medical benefits? How does the insurance company handle this type of situation?

Am I wrong for wanting to get off workman's compensation and wanting to get back to work? Or should I just forget looking, have the surgery and continue accepting the benefits?
I'm Sorry I don't Remember the State You are in, and I Understand Your Situation, and See Your Concern. My Question to You would be this: Which is More Important to You Right now, Finding the Work to Keep Your Basic Health Ins., or Your Health, and taking a Chance of Complications by having the Surgery at a Later date? If You do Return to Work You are going to have to Follow Your Dr.'s Restrictions to a "T", and You are going to have to be Sure that Your New Employer knows and Accepts Your Restrictions. By not following that, You can Lose Your W/C Benefits and Medical Care for not Following the Rules set Forth by w/c. My Opinion Only, I would Discuss this a bit further with Your Surgeon, and Your Nurse Case Manager or Adjuster, and You May want to Speak with an Attorney or Two that Handle w/c Cases, the First Consult is Usually Free! I think by doing that You will have a better Understanding of Your Situation, and will have More Info. to Make the Best Decision for You!! Best of Luck!!Wink
Welcome to the forum!

I worked as an early childhood teacher was was injured in 2005, bilateral knees.

The delay of surgery will only worsen your medical condition and may lead to problems with the other knee & back due to your gait.

I am proof of that!

Surgery of the left knee (meniscus) was delayed for 5 months at the employer's request to accomodated their schedule while I continued working.

By the time I had the first surgery there was extensive damage to the knee and the meniscus surgery was a failure. After the meniscus surgery I learned I needed a total knee replacement which was delayed for 36 months due to denials by work comp.

Today I have problems with the other knee, back, & ankle due to the delay of surgery.

I was offered a job I very much wanted a couple of years ago but had to turn down the job due to having surgery of the right knee.
Whether you are employed or not work comp is still required to provide wage loss benefits during recovery...

Other than Health Insurance being your problem, WC Insurance still pays you 66 2/3 your pay to stay home and recover.

The knee surgery, as of now your looking at 6 to 9 months of PT without surgery, or 6 to 9 months of PT after surgery. Which means 6 to 9 months of milking that knee either way to heal, or just to do PT. Which also means, what is much better here, get fixed, or not get fixed? I would think the Insurance carrier would have a real lot to say, if you simply say no surg[/u][/i][/b]ery till next summer, and let you sit in PT which really will never fix your knee. If you elect no surgery till next summer, your going to be looking at an Insurance carrier to stop your benifits.

Oh, and you were not fired, you were let go with 40+ other people during a systems work cut...... You and those 40+ other people were given a option to resign.....
Reply's are intended solely for informational purposes. They are based on personal opinions, experience, or research and are "not to be taken as fact or legal advice", otherwise, always consult an attorney or a doctor.

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