Visitor Question

Permanent nerve damage, should I close case or leave open?

Submitted By: Anonymous (San Diego, California)

I was injured during a teaching job in California. An EMG test confirmed S1 and L5 nerve damage, along with Facet joint arthritis, bulging disc, and spinal stenosis. I quit my job and then applied for workers comp. It was a small school and I didn’t know I could apply for workers comp before quitting. So I never got weekly benefits, just medical care.

It’s been 1.5 years since I quit. A new MRI shows the stenosis is gone, but nerve pain and body limitations still exist. I’m doing another round of PT and acupuncture. The doctor says the nerve pain may never go away and there is nothing else I can try. Should I get a permanent disability rating and close the case, or should I keep open as long as nerve pain persists? Thanks for any information you can provide.

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 Anonymous,

You state “I quit my job and then applied for workers comp…” Your first challenge will be to prove your injury occurred while you were employed by the school district and that you gave timely notice of your injury.

Under California law, failure to report an on-the-job injury to an employer within thirty (30) days may result in a denial of a workers compensation claim. California Revised Statute Section 5400 can be summarized as follows:

“No claim for a workers compensation injury shall be actionable unless the injured worker served upon  the worker’s employer within thirty (30) days of the injury a Workers Compensation Claim Form DWC-1.”

Contact your employer and explain you were not aware of the requirement of a written notice of injury. Ask that a claim be opened, and your injury and resulting medical treatment be covered. While the thirty days notice is required, the time limit may be waived and you may be permitted to file your claim anywhere up to five (5) years from the date of your injury.

Immediately, or as soon as reasonably possible, file a written claim for workers compensation benefits. To do so, you can download form DWC-1 here.

Learn more here: Worker Partial Disability Claims

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,

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