Can I get a settlement for a mistreated work injury from 12 years ago?
Approximately 12 years ago I had a 1 ton cheese press frame crush me to the ground, pinning me under it from my waist down. My right leg took most of the damage. I was taken into our first aid room, where my manager had me remove my clothes so he could see what damage was done. At that time I had posted out and was taken into work medical.
The doctor there looked me over. He did a quick scan of my body and told me to go back to work. No X0-rays were taken and nothing was really done. His nurse did say that she was very concerned about nerve damage. I had my manager take me home since I was unable to walk or move.
I decided to call my mom who was a nurse and asked her to come over and look at my right leg and thigh. When she came over my left thigh and leg was black from the waist down below my knee cap, with huge dents in my upper leg from where the bar of the cheese press rested on my leg (until someone came and helped remove the press).
The next morning I went into to work like the Dr. told me and my manager. I could barely walk and it felt like both of my ankles were broken. So I decide to have my mom meet me at work medical to be checked out by another doctor. All this second doctor did was take X-rays of my ankles. Nothing was ever done about my right leg. He told me not to return to work and gave me 3 weeks of workouts! After 5 days I went to my own primary care physician only to be put on pain meds which never worked.
This pain went on for about 3 years. Finally I found a doctor that ordered an MRI on both my neck and back, and found that I had several bulged discs in both my neck and back. He decided to have my neck done first and then my back 3 months later.
After my neck surgery I found out that my workers comp case had been closed and they would not reopen it! I fought with them for months and got nowhere. I was left stuck with the bills, so I had to tell my regular insurance company that the injury I had was not due to the original work injury, just so I wasn't stuck with bill.
My boss told me I had to return back to work, so I had to cancel the back surgery. I was only able to work for 2 months until I had to quit because of the pain. I then had to find another job. For the past 12 years I have been in and out of doctors' offices, fighting them on this, only to be put on more pain meds that don't work.
The last 2 years have been the worst. I had to quite my job doing real estate because of weakness in my right leg and from falling. I finally did find a doctor who was willing to order another MRI on my back. He found that I now have 5 discs that are bulged, so my injuries are getting worse with time.
I'm now also dealing with Fibromyalgia and nerve pain in both legs. I am unable to work, sleep, and do things on my own because of this injury. It's been 12 years. What can I do? Is there any way to reopen the original workers compensation claim since they never actually cured my injury (or really did anything for it)? What about the doctors who did not diagnose my injuries or treat them correctly? I'm really frustrated and don't know what to do. Thanks for any information you can provide.
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ANSWER for "Can I get a settlement for a mistreated work injury from 12 years ago?":
Rich (Ogden, Utah):
Unfortunately, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in the State of Utah is four years from the act of malpractice, or four years from the date a person could have reasonably discovered the malpractice occurred. Twelve years is just too long, and well past the statute of limitations date.
In almost all cases, once a workers compensation case is closed the victim is barred from unilaterally reopening the claim. There is an exception for fraud. If you had been able to prove there was fraud involved in the administration of your workers comp claim you would have had two years from the date of the fraud. Unfortunately, that time has passed years ago as well.
Another legal issue might have been the possibility of a product liability claim. If you had been able to prove the cheese press was defective you might have had a product liability claim against the cheese press manufacturer. Unfortunately, the statue of limitations in the State of Utah for product liability claims is two years.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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