Visitor Question

Surgery for neck screws damages vocal cords…

Submitted By: Duane (Big Spring, Texas)

The bottom two screws in my neck are broken and they did surgery to correct it. In the surgery they did something to my right vocal cord and it is not working. I now have half the voice I previously had, and I am a chaplain so to preach is terrible.

I filed an injury claim with workers compensation and received a 22% impairment. But now they tell me I won’t be getting any compensation for it? What should I do next? Do you know how payment works with workers comp? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Duane,

If your workers compensation has been denied, your next step is to seek representation from an attorney who practices workers comp law. You shouldn’t have to pay the attorney any money in advance. If your attorney is successful her fees will be paid separately by workers compensation.

You may also have a separate claim against the doctor who performed the surgery and the hospital where the surgery was performed.

In an independent medical malpractice lawsuit your compensation would be fairly unlimited. Because the doctor and the hospital are separate entities you will be able to seek compensation in an amount much greater than that you would receive in a workers comp award.

In your lawsuit your damages can be computed by multiplying your medical bills by a factor of anywhere from 1.5x to 3x or higher. That multiple represents your medical bills, out of pocket expenses such a prescription and over the counter medications, your lost wages, and an additional amount for pain and suffering.

You might see if the attorney who represents you in your workers comp case can also represent you in your independent lawsuits against the doctor and the hospital. Often attorneys who practice workers compensation law also practice personal injury law.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: December 18, 2012

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