No help for back injury?

by A
(USA)

I have been employed at my current job for almost 14 years. I injured my back at work about 2.5 years ago. I told my boss and they did nothing. I don't know what rights I have. After the first injury, I went to my doctor and he did some X-rays and said it looked okay. I kept working and it was still a lot of pain.

It got a little better but not much, then when I was at home my back went out. I went to a see my doctor again and he was no help. I got a second opinion and an MRI. I went to the SCOI center and saw the doctor and they told me that I had 3 herniated discs.

They told me I have two lines on my discs. The first occurred when I injured it and told my employer, and the second when I hurt it at home. I told my boss that I had a double herniation on all three lower discs.

Are they responsible for this? I have been working this way, trying to do my best, but now it just hurts all the time. I have told my boss the progress of my back and they don't seem to care. Recently, a different employee got hurt and they jumped all over it.

This upset me, and I asked why did they not do the same for me? They replied, "We did not have an HR department when you did it, but we do care and will work with you." This was about 6 weeks ago. I just got a new MRI and my back is no better. I informed them that it's still the same, and I am going to see a spinal specialist.

I have never been made aware of my rights, and I have never been given a workers' comp handbook. Up until about 2 weeks ago, we have not had any comp information for the whole time I've worked there. Maybe they are scared I will turn it in, and honestly I'm scared too because I know they will be upset.

I need some advice. I hurt so bad and I just want to make sure my back gets fixed. I'm scared that this will be an issue for a long time. I have spent over $10,000 out of my own pocket for medical care. I'm scared that if I continue working like this I will become disabled.

I got hurt in July. I told them and the boss's daughter (who was my boss) said, "That sucks" and did nothing. I'm very upset and just want to leave because of the lack of concern, but I'm afraid if I do my rights will be gone.

I have worked hard for them for a long time and I know accidents happen. I don't want to file a claim, but I need to get the right care and the time off to do it. I'm worried that if the specialist says I can't work like this or need surgery, I won't be able to make it. I'm only 36 and I have a family to support. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "No help for back injury?":

A (USA):

Depending upon the state in which you live, you likely had two, or possibly three years within which to have filed your workers' compensation claim. It appears you may have missed that deadline. As a result, you may not be entitled to workers' comp benefits.

Of course, if you believe continuing to work for your current employer is likely to result in a more serious injury, or an exacerbation of your current back injury, then you should seek other employment as soon as possible.

It is unfortunate you were not given an employee workers' compensation manual at the time of your original injury. With that said, you may be able to circumvent the workers' comp deadline and still be able to file a claim for compensation. But you will first have to get over your aversion to filing a claim against your employer.

Because of the complex nature of your injury and the time period for filing your claim, you will need the advice and counsel of an experienced workers' comp attorney.

Fortunately, most workers' comp attorneys do not charge for an initial office consultation. Your employer will not know you visited with an attorney unless you tell your employer, or until such time as your attorney explicitly notifies them.

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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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION