Suing for negative effects of permanent back injury while working?

by Joanne
(Maine)

I herniated a disc on the job 1/31/2012. I reported it two days later as the pain was worsening. Initially I started to improve, but on the 12th of February I awoke with the most excruciating pain in my lower back which radiated down my left leg. I went to the ER.

I called EH and informed them as to what happened. They set up an MRI which was misread. They sent me back to work on the 28th. At that point I had lost over 20lbs because I couldn't eat or sleep. My Manager took one look at me and sent me home. I called a colleague of mine, a Neurosurgeon and he got me into the office the next day.

I had a HUGE herniated disc at L2-L3 left, which had completely crushed my nerve root. I had surgery on 3/2/2012. I did have immediate pain relief but now have permanent scar tissue around that nerve root. I also have permanent numbness in my left thigh and groin. It had flared up a few times and I've had to miss work as a result.

Workers' Comp has always paid. I had to cut my hours back to 36 and had to hire someone to clean my house as doing it kills my back. On August 28, 2014, I fell at home and re aggravated that nerve root. I claimed it as a WC injury because if I didn't have the scar tissue I would have been fine. They denied my claim.

I got notes from my Neurologist, Neurosurgeon, and Chiropractor that this was a re aggravation of my WC injury. I disputed it and went to mediation. All I wanted was the week of pay and my medical bills for the Chiropractor.

They now claim I didn't hurt myself on the job even though they never disputed that before. They contacted the witness to my injury (I am an O.R. nurse) and she remembered it happening. They are now digging into my records to determine whether I have had treatment for a herniated disc in the past. They won't find anything, as I have not.

I have an advocate from WC but he just says this is the process. My question is: What happens when they don't uncover anything, and can I go after them for the drastic difference this injury has made in my life?

I can't exercise like I used to. I can't go on long motorcycle rides. I can't work 40 hours. I have permanent restrictions at work. I can't clean my own house. I even feel the stress of this injury has brought on Graves Disease, and this process has created a great deal more stress which has made my symptoms worse. Thank you for any information.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Suing for negative effects of permanent back injury while working?":

Joann (Maine):

It's time to thank your WC representative and move on. Immediately, or as soon as is reasonably possible, seek the advice and counsel of an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Your claim has become quite complex, including the issues of previous existing injury, Graves Disease, the O.R. Nurses' statements, and the ultimate denial of your original claim.

The issues involved require sworn testimony, a review of the company's internal memos, depositions of the WC representative, the insurance company's adjuster, your employer, and others whose testimony is vital in supporting your claim.

Without an attorney, your leverage is quite limited - like fighting a superior experienced opponent with one hand tied behind your back. Either you accept the insurance company's decision, try and fight the claim yourself, or retain an attorney. The decision should be simple.

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