Multiple Back Injuries Needing Surgery...
I was injured at work in 2009. I was lifting multiple heavy objects when I had a pop in my lower back. I ended up having 2 herniated discs, 1 at the time did not need repair just rest, but the L5-S1 was ruptured and into my spinal cord. It was causing numbness in lower extremities and severe sciatic pain.
I had the surgery in 2 months and was out of work for 8 weeks before returning to light duty for 6 months. The doctor then told me I had severe DDD (Degenerative Disc Disease) and severe arthritis. I've seen my doctor multiple times since then due to chronic pain and he told me a fusion is most likely in my future.
I did receive workers compensation at the time of the injury and treatment but since I was going through a bankruptcy it was taken from me.
Fast forward to February 2012. I was exercising at my gym with my normal routine (to get prepared for my wedding). I sat down for a minute by my locker after getting out of the shower and when I stood up to put my pants on I collapsed instantly from severe pain. It was as bad as it was the first time I injured my back.
I first reported it to my workmans comp case worker before I sought medical treatment the same day. I told her I was going to the hospital. Workmans comp told me I'd have to go to one of their Independent Medical Examiners.
To shorten this story up I saw their independent ME some 6-8 weeks later and after his evaluation he said I should have gotten an MRI from my regular surgeon because he thought that I re-herniated my disc. I called my regular doctor at this but he had most of the month off.
I had an MRI on the 23rd and found out it was in fact re-herniated. I then had the surgery again on May 6th and was off work for 3 weeks before I returned to the office. The doctor said there was nerve damage and it would take a while to feel better (I was in a lot of pain).
I got married on June 22 and during my dance for my wife for the Garter toss I felt my back tighten up. When I woke up the next day I was in horrible pain and it has continued ever since then.
I have severe left leg sciatic pain that limits my everyday routine. I am taking 5-7 Vicodin a day to cope with the nerve pain. I can't see my doctor until Monday and I've left e-mails for my workers comp case worker but have gotten no responses. I am kind of fed up. My doctor's assistant said it sounded like some more of my disc came off and I'd most likely need another operation to remove it.
Am I entitled to any further benefits or disability reimbursement for this injury and my pain? Ive had pain almost every day of my life for the past 3 years. Is there any case here for workmans comp, or because they paid once it's all over? Thank you for any perspective you can give.
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ANSWER for "Multiple Back Injuries Needing Surgery...":
If you are still working for the same employer as when you initially injured your back you may have the basis of a new workers compensation claim.
If the doctors conclude your latest injury is directly related to your initial injury you will have a new and separate workers comp claim. That’s to say if the doctors conclude your new injury wouldn’t have occurred but for the already weakened or injured state of your back from the original injury, your new claim will be valid.
On the other hand if the doctors conclude your initial injury was fully healed and the gym accident is an entirely separate injury, you will have a difficult time succeeding with a new claim.
You say your doctor diagnosed you as having “severe DDD (Degenerative Disc Disease) and severe arthritis”. If that disease and resulting arthritis is congenital and would have occurred regardless of either the initial work injury or subsequent gym injury your workers comp claim will be difficult to prove.
Your best bet is to go ahead and file a new claim. You won’t know whether the claim will be approved unless you first file it.
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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