Why didn't I get a settlement payment for my back injury?
(Green Bay, WI)
My job is repairing trucks. On several occasions I have to bend over them to repair the engines. Well about 15 or more years ago I had to have back surgery because of this. I had a pinched nerve and slipped disc. Workers Comp paid for the doctor and surgery. However I never received a penny from it. I was told this case was still open.
Recently I cut my thumb quite bad and had to go to the hospital. I received a nice sum because the cut was considered a percent disability. Why didn't I get money when I hurt my back? My back was worse than the thumb. Is there any possibility of still getting a payment for the back injury? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Why didn't I get a settlement payment for my back injury?":
Jerry (Green Bay, WI):
You probably shouldn’t rely on a third person to verify that your 15 year old claim is still open. It’s highly unlikely it is. To confirm the claim is still open ask the company you worked for 15 years ago for the name of the insurance company, and if possible, the claim number. You can circumvent this process if you retained copies of your file. If so, contact the insurance company and confirm your claim is still open.
It’s unlikely the same claims adjuster who handled your claim 15 years ago will still be the adjuster for your claim, so you’ll have to deal with a different adjuster.
If you were represented by an attorney 15 years ago, contact him/her. The attorney has an ethical obligation to explain to you what happened to your claim, and why you didn't receive any compensation other than your medical bills, out of pocket expenses, and lost wages. You can be confident that if there was any money owed to you, the attorney would have sought that money.
Workers compensation attorneys are only paid if and when they settle a claim. At that time they receive a percentage of the claim’s worth. It’s unlikely your attorney would have forfeited that right.
It’s difficult to know why you didn’t receive additional compensation for your previous injury. If you were representing yourself, you may have neglected to ask for additional compensation. Additionally, your previous injury may not have been disabling. Disabling injuries normally result in additional compensation over and above medical expenses, out of pocket expenses, and lost wages.
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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