Switching workmans' comp coverage from New York to Florida?

by Sandra
(Deltona, FL, USA)

My friend has been on workman's comp since 2002 when she had injured herself at work in NY. The workman's comp case was finished and I guess they settled for a monthly payment plus anything she needed medically to help her get back on her feet.

After that, she and her husband moved to Florida to live and they could not find a workmans comp doctor to continue helping her, and trying to get any type of approval from workman's comp was like pulling teeth. No one would help them. They had to settle for a pain management doctor who only prescribes pain meds to manage her pain, but the problem was more than just that.

She had suffered a spinal injury which only got worse because the pain meds were only covering the problem, not healing it. When I first met my friend, she had trouble walking but since I met her in 2004, she went from walking with a cane to a walker, to having to go to an electric scooter because she kept falling.

Her husband passed away suddenly 3 years ago and now she has no one at all to help her. She is alone - only a few friends can only do but so much. She had emergency surgery two years ago because she was starting to lose the feeling in her right leg and she kept tripping over herself, and was always in excruciating pain in her lower back.

I think her original injury was to her left side but she put so much pressure on the right side for so many years that everything caved in on both ends. I fought and fought with workman's comp for them to help her, and after we had to take her to the emergency room because she was in so much pain she couldn't take it anymore, they finally did approve the surgery.

That surgery left her with a drop foot and no feeling in her right foot and leg. So she cannot drive, she cannot get around without the use of her walker or scooter - her back continues to be a huge problem. They wanted to do a second surgery on her because her nerves have become so impinged in her spinal canal that she is in excruciating pain all of the time.

She can't sit, stand, or lie down without being in pain. It's a 24/7 pain for her and all she can do is take pills to try to take the edge off. But workman's comp will not approve her second surgery.

I told her to ask them for someone to come in and clean her floors and bathroom at least twice a week because she has no one to help her. They won't approve that. I told her to see if they would approve deep tissue massages or some type of rehabilitation.

She feels a bit better when she gets rehab in the water because she can walk in the water and exercise, but they will only give her a few visits there. I told her she needs a good lawyer that would be willing to look at her case, because she has been suffering for so long and I wish there was someway we can help her.

She does have a workman's comp representative in NY, but I feel like he is working for the company, not for her. He does nothing to help her. What can she do? Can she switch the workmans comp to Florida so she can get better coverage? Does she need a lawyer? Any information you can give would be appreciated.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Switching workmans' comp coverage from New York to Florida?":

Sandra (Deltona, FL, USA):

You state she has a representative in New York. If that representative is an attorney, then your friend should heed his or her advice. You go on to state your friend is dissatisfied with her representative's assistance. If that's true, she should dismiss that representative and seek a new one.

Your friend can certainly handle the case from Florida. The insurance company she has been dealing with likely does business in Florida and New York. At this point she really has no choice but to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. The case sounds a little too complicated to try handling it on her own.

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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