Torn bicep went undiagnosed for years, causing permanent damage...
I was working construction I injured my arm. When I went to step up on the catwalk with my left leg, my right leg slipped and I began to fall under the catwalk. I reached up with my left arm and grabbed the handrail to catch myself. I felt a big pop and was then hanging there by my left arm. I got my footing back and got out of there.
I went into the office because my arm was killing me. I took my shirt off and my left arm was already swelling, bloodshot and bruising, so waited for the boss. He had me fill out an incident report and sent me across the street to our therapist (comes 3 times a week).
He looked at it and said he thought it was just a bruised muscle. He said I should be okay to work, but to take it easy and if it continues to hurt go to the doctor.
After a couple days of working in pain I asked my boss if I could go have it looked at by the doctor. He said no, go to the hospital. It would be a time loss injury so he contacted someone that they have a contract with so he could meet with us.
When I saw the MD he thought it was a minor muscle tear and it would get better with time... the pain should eventually go away.
I never was given an MRI, but he still said I could go back to work, just go easy at work with it. I worked 2 years with pain and was finally fed up and went and told my boss several different times I wanted a 2nd opinion. Then I got with the safety person at work and he got me set up with a different doctor.
They saw me, set up an MRI and also got my claim reopened. I got my MRI and talked to an orthopedic surgeon. He informed me that my bicep had been torn in half the whole time. He was quite upset that they didn't give me an MRI before this.
Long story short, I ended up having surgery to replace my bicep with cadaver muscle, but it couldn't be fixed because muscle shrunk to much. Now I'm messed up for rest of my life. My arm will never be the same. It was also my dominant arm being that I am left handed.
I think I should get more than medical bills paid since I've basically lost the use of my dominant arm. What can I do?
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ANSWER for "Torn bicep went undiagnosed for years, causing permanent damage...":
Greg (Washington, USA):
You are entitled to workers' compensation for your injuries, but you may have an important option available to you. While under workers' comp you are entitled to compensation for your medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and a portion of your lost wages, you're not entitled to pain and suffering.
You may have the basis of a strong medical malpractice claim(s) against the doctors who misdiagnosed your injuries. This is especially true because you have sustained a permanent and apparently debilitating injury solely as a result of their misdiagnoses. In your case, it was a failure to properly diagnose the tear to your bicep.
Speak with several workers' compensation attorneys. Many handle workers' comp claims and medical malpractice claims. If you can’t find a workers' comp attorney who practices in both areas of the law, he may be able to refer you to a competent medical malpractice attorney.
In the interim, gather copies of all your medical and therapy bills, as well as receipts for out of pocket expenses. If possible, ask your employer for a letter verifying the dates and wages you lost because of your injury. The attorneys will review these records and decide if you have a valid claim.
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,
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