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Wyoming, how does it all end?

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  • Wyoming, how does it all end?

    Hi, I was burned badly at work a little over a month ago and as a result was life flighted down to the burn center in Greely CO where I stayed for 10 days. I am now at home and have been out of work for over a month and should be going back in a couple weeks. I am excited to be going back to work as the Work-Comp pay is not near what I made on the job and so the money has been tight here. The whole ordeal has been terrible, at least the pain was incredible and still continues, but is slightly less each day My question is that I was told by a friend that I am due some kind of settlement after it is all over to compensate for the pain and suffereing I went through. I know nothing about the laws, nor do I know any lawyers here in town so I thought I would ask the question here first and see what answers I get. I appreciate any help and thank you in advance.

    George

  • #2
    You may well be entitled to a permanent partial disability (PPD) settlement but there is no provision in Worker's Compensation regulations for "pain and suffering." That simply is not an issue in WC.

    When you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), you may be entitled to a PPD settlement for any permanent disability you are left with, such as any scarring or loss of mobility due to your burns. You may want to at least consult with an attorney specializing in workers compensation so that you fully understand your rights (and so that you don't rely upon information from well-intentioned friends who don't know what they're talking about.)

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    • #3
      One thing to add, if you qualify for a ppd, don't be too dissapointed with the settlement, it doesn't pay out much.

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      • #4
        "payout" yes, but not pain and suffering.

        You're likely to get a "payout", but it is not a "payolla". and it is not pain and suffering.

        here's a history lesson for you to help understand. It is simplistic and bit stylized/fictionalized, but you'll get the gist. in the bad old days, workers used to get injured on the job more often. there were no compulsory comp laws. workers were free to sue as would any other person injured by something wrong or defective. sometimes they lost, often times they won. However, often when they won they found the company had no money or it was shell company or whatever and the workers got no compensation for often legitimate claims. Alternatively, when the employee would win and the employer did have money, the injured employee's judgment might put the company under. So a "deal" was struck. Not sure how much of a "deal" it was, seems more Capital sided, but whatever. The deal is every employer must pay into a comp system in each of the 50 states (I'm pretty sure each state has these, but it is not a federal requirement). By paying into the comp system, every employee is covered. they get injured, there exists a pool to recover from (depnding on the injury, severity, etc.). It is generally no-fault based so that an employee recovers no matter (generally). in exchange, the employer cannot be sued in the traditional sense (except for limited circumstances). in order to make the system work, each state sets a schedule of injuries so that employees and injuries are treated equally and objectively without regard to pain and suffering or etc. so an arm is worth $25,000, and eye is worth $15,000, etc. (the schedule is pretty low). If you're partially disabled in your arm, say 50% use, then you get 50% of $25,000. I'm glossing over the details, but we're speaking generally here.

        Thus, in your case, once recovered and determined the extent of your disability (if any), you recieve a payment according to some schedule. That is it. Of course, if it was this simple you wouldn't need a lawyer, nor would the employer need one, but they have them. As you might realize, it is not this simple and claims can be made that the disability is more or less than stated. Or that multiple disabilities exist. or that or some reason an injury should not be processed through the comp system. ow whatever. so, yes, you should seek an attorney, if only to get advise on what, where and when. You should obviously discuss payment for attorney since if its reasonably certain you'll get X, then why pay an attorney just to get X, unless the company is arguing X is not appropriate. Of course, if you're not sure its x, y or z, then paying an attorney might be very good idea to ensure you receive the appropriate of x, y or z. again, over simplfying, and wyoming's laws may differ than that with which I'm familiar (i have no idea of wyoming's laws), but I'm hoping to instead give you an idea of the system and why an attorney might be good and where things might go.

        in your case, with the seeming severity of the incident (a medivac copter to local hospital), and with your current lack of info on what's happening and what's to be expected, I would at least seek a consultation with an attorney and go from there.

        good luck, and recover well.

        curt j.

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        • #5
          See an attorney. There are complicated procedures for dealing with your workers comp claim and there are certain mis-steps that can reduce your benefits (i.e., missing doctor's appointments). Also, an attorney can help you get more money, especially in a burn case where it is more difficult to apply the usual rules.

          Also, at this point you want to try to figure out if any third parties were partially responsible for your injury. If the injury was actually the fault of a third party rather than your employer or a co-worker, you can try to recover additional $ beyond what worker's comp provides. An attorney can help you figure this out.

          As stated above, you aren't going to get pain and sufferring under workman's comp, although if a third party is responsible then you will be able to pursue that.

          Sorry about your injury, BTW.
          Last edited by grasmicc; 07-28-2005, 02:31 PM.

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          • #6
            Someone clarify this for me. I'm not sure which state it pertained to but I read a burn on a foot is not considered critical and is not covered by worker's comp. Is this true? He didn't say where he was burned. I just hope for his sake they don't loophole him.

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