Multiple injuries at work but only receiving partial benefits?

by Christina
(New Hampshire)

I'm wondering what my claim is worth. I sustained a work related injury to my Left Shoulder & Right Hip. The insurance company denied the shoulder injury (even though I had a previous work related claim on the same shoulder in 2009). But at the same time, the insurance company accepted the claim for my right hip.

I work in the maintenance/custodian dept. But the last 10 months I was also made to work in the shipping dept, as well as the Maintenance Dept. I lifted a 56 lb. box of aluminum parts to weigh it on the floor scale.

As soon as I cleared the counter top, I felt severe heat to the back of my left shoulder, as well as pain and immediate numbing, pins & needles to the front of my shoulder.

The numbing caused me to lose my grip on the heavy box, which slipped from my grasp and landed in my Right groin/Hip area, and then continued to pull my body forward the rest of the way down to the floor.

I have worked in Maintenance since 2006. Strain and bumps and bruises come with the job duties. I just thought I over worked the shoulder and that the hip was bruised but would eventually get better. However, I realized that while some little ailments went away, the hip pain increased.

I had increased difficulty and pain with certain movements, including climbing stairs, lifting my leg, and suffering stabbing & crippling pain. My shoulder pain also increased with use, so I finally went to seek medical attention for both.

I have been out of work, receiving workers comp for 20 months. I recently had an MRI on the Left Shoulder (5/27/2014) and am awaiting the doctor's findings. The techs informed me that they did see a tear, while they assisted me into a different position for a raised arm MRI picture.

I have been without any meds since November 2013 because my shoulder claim has been denied by the insurance company, nor has it had any medical treatment since the initial injury!

The doctor who's been treating me has been condescending throughout this whole ordeal. He refused to give me meds when I complained of pain, and has told me that if I lived in Mass. I wouldn't have a WC claim because they don't give settlements for "...wear & tear claims from people in my age group for injuries acquired from age!"

I said I don't sleep more than 4 hours, and he said that any meds he would prescribe only last for 4 hours anyway. Needless to say I have been dealing with this pain by using Aleve and/or Tylenol...without success.

What can I do about this? How can I get workers comp to cover my shoulder injury? Is there any other way I can get treatment for this? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Multiple injuries at work but only receiving partial benefits?":

Christina (New Hampshire):

You have a right to petition the workers' compensation insurance carrier to permit you to seek another medical opinion from a physician on the company's list of approved physicians.

Contact your employer and ask for the name and contact information for the insurance claims adjuster handling your claim. If you already have that information, contact the insurance adjuster directly.

Another physician may feel differently about your medical status. Moreover, a new treating doctor may order additional diagnostic tests such as an MRI or CT Scan. Those diagnostic examinations may reveal additional injuries, and may support your claim for additional benefits.

If you can't convince the insurance adjuster to let you be examined by another physician, or allow you to undergo additional testing, your next step will be to seek the advice and counsel of a local workers' compensation attorney.

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,

Judge Calisi

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