Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

California - Worker's comp mess

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • California - Worker's comp mess

    I started a new job last August. I have a letter on file for an ergo keyboard and mouse, and an adjustable keyboard tray. All went well until last month when our office moved, and the keyboard tray wasn't installed. The HR person kept asking me to be patient, saying that she was trying to get someone to install it. I didn't complain because I thought it would only be few days (each time) but after 3 weeks my shoulder began to throb, which I told her about, and she just kept telling me to be patient.

    Now, my shoulder/arm hurts so bad I can hardly work and am in constant pain. I have been going to my chiro for massage and various treatments, and she said to go to HR and file a WC claim.

    HR went ballistic, claiming it's pre-existing and not their problem, called in my boss as a 'witness' and both of them berated me until I asked if they were refusing to file a claim, and HR said they would look into it.

    The next day she sent me an email saying she was starting a claim for me and that the insurer would contact me.

    She's been out of town, and no one's contacted me and I need to go to a doctor for this, but my regular doctor won't see me because it's WC and I'm stuck in limbo. I finally read the required notice on the bulletin board and it says that the EO must give ME the form to fill out and that I should be seen by the
    wc doc within 1 day of receipt of the form. It's now been 9 days since our initial conversation in the HR office. She's not back until sometime next week.

    I'm frustrated enough to go hire an attorney.

    Q: since they've screwed up, do I still have to go to their doctor or can I go to mine? Will my claim be backdated to the day I initially reported it? Are there any penalties for them not handling this correctly and the harassment from HR and my boss, who thinks that if she just changes my assignments around, I can still work on the computer even though I'm still in a lot of pain, and don' t want to aggravate the tendonitis even more? I haven't been able to get a doctor's note because I don't have a claim yet.
    I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

  • #2
    I don't know what to tell you except to hire an attorney. I just hired one for my workers comp issue earlier this week, and I feel a lot more hopeful than I did before.

    Not to hijack Alice's thread, but my claim started June 25. Workers comp didn't authorize an MRI of my hand/wrist until December, and the doctor told me three weeks ago that I will need surgery for De Quervain syndrome. And, yes, I'm in constant pain that has now spread to my neck and shouler.
    Last edited by Marketeer; 01-31-2014, 04:42 AM.
    I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

    Comment


    • #3
      If the HR person is out, hiring an attorney isn't going to speed up the process and may actually slow it down in early days. For one, you are asking that person to be our representative so any communication has to go through them instead of to you directly. If it is pre-existing it will be apportioned but these are the claims which drive those in WC to drink. If you must be seen, try the ER. I would also ask who is handling claims while the original person is out. If your current doctor won't treat you because it was aggravated by work, that isn't going to change no matter what the employer does. Your beef is with the doctor on that one.

      You can find the basics on WC here http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/InjuredWorker.htm. Good luck!
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

      Comment


      • #4
        At least in my state (TX) the employer has to post a notice about WC coverage and on that notice is how to contact the carrier directly. You could try that if the HR person doesn't have a backup and you need to be seen by a doctor sooner rather than later.

        That said, I do agree with Elle. Your case will be complicated by it being pre-existing. And they can prove that due to the prior documentation you gave to get the ergonomic pieces. I am assuming it was a doctor's provided note that stated you had a condition that needed those pieces. An attorney might help, but I am not sure it will help it go faster at this point. I would wait to see what the WC carrier is offering.

        Comment


        • #5
          The link I posted has the form which employees can se to file their claims if they do not get one from the employer directly. Medical care in CA is a bit complicated when it is WC but even the state recommends ERs for an initial visit. Aggravations of pre-existing conditions can be covered in every state, but there is always a fine line between treating the work related part and the pre-existing part.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

          Comment


          • #6
            Correct me if I'm wrong, but if this is a pre-existing injury, wouldn't that qualify as an ADA violation? And possibly now, as well?
            I figure such an accommodation as the tray and keyboard is so low cost compared to what could come from this, it's insane.
            I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
            Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
            I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
            Don't worry, be happy.

            http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by cactus jack View Post
              Correct me if I'm wrong, but if this is a pre-existing injury, wouldn't that qualify as an ADA violation? And possibly now, as well?
              I figure such an accommodation as the tray and keyboard is so low cost compared to what could come from this, it's insane.
              Jack, I wondered about that, too.
              I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

              Comment


              • #8
                Vey iffy on the ADA violation. Very. A delay in reinstalling a tray is going to be an extreme stretch assuming the condition even qualifies under ADA in the first place. General discomfort isn't a disability and a 3 week wait upon an office move is understandable. It might create a WC claim, but would not get very far as an ADA(AA)/ CA equivalent claim.

                Now if there was a medical condition which did qualify as a disability and the company refused to install the equipment at all, the nyou might have something there. Alice, for your own sake I would be asking your doctor for strategies to relieve the tension in your shoulders (stretches, breaks, other adjustments such as to your chair height, etc.). I can relate to your difficulties and have managed for years without requiring any official accommodations. Your mileage may vary but there should be some things you can do to at least help.
                I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Would it help or make it worse if she put the request for the tray in to her HR as an ADA request?
                  I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
                  Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
                  I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
                  Don't worry, be happy.

                  http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Can't hurt but it doesn't change anything as far as the claim is concerned. It also doesn't mean they will pull the carpenter from the current duties to quick install the tray.
                    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Something I never could understand...such a simple low-cost problem, yet they won't "fix it". How pathetic.
                      I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
                      Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
                      I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
                      Don't worry, be happy.

                      http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Having been on both sides of the equation, it isn't always a matter of "won't". Especially when it isn't in place as an actual ADA accommodation, the employer may not be aware of how vital it is or what problems will result from not having the tray installed, or whatever measure is being sought. Most employers worth teir salt will provide greater accommodations than required by ADA for convenience sake. Even in this case it isn't clear that there is an actual disability. Having moved offices a few times, it can be chaotic and "everybody" has needs and wants. Pictures hung, furniture rearranged, extras installed, and that assumes that all the basics have been completed at the new place.
                        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The saga continues...

                          I finally got in to see a workers comp doctor, he stated I couldn't do my regular work, needed modified work and that I had to wear my sling at work. My boss said she didn't have any work I could do, so put me off work until I saw the doctor again. WC took forever to get me into physical therapy (my first appt isn't until Wed.)

                          Now the doctor says 2 more weeks in the sling.My boss says she can't continue paying me to stay home and my work is piling up (it's not, according to my coworker, who say work is slow and they've been picking up the slack.)
                          so, she's ordering me a left handed mouse and Im back at work tomorrow. AND, she says I've used up all my sick leave (they've been applying my sick leave to workers comp time off, even their doc says it's worker's comp) so any time off for PTor more doctor's visits will not be paid, unless the appointment takes all day.
                          Is this right, that I'm supposed to lose pay when they were on notice that I needed accommodations to avoid injury, and failed to provide them after the move?
                          I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The time the doctor placed you off work should be covered by WC and not your own leave. Your leave may be used until the TTD checks are cut to "bridge the gap" and then restored once you get paid by WC. It is known as the "We Hate the Payroll Department Policy" but it is legal. WC will only cover 2/3rds of your average weekly wage, though it is tax exempt. Your sick leave may be used to cover the difference between the comp rate (TTD)and your usual wages. Also a nightmare for payroll but legal.

                            Time spent at PT or for doctors' appointments and the like are NOT covered by WC. There is only one state which requires this time to be paid as wages (not TTD) and surprisingly it is not CA. That time may be docked from a leave bank or taken unpaid as appropriate. It should fall under intermittent FMLA (assuming you do) so it may be unpaid even for exempt employees. ADA does not come into play here, though allowing you time off if it does meet the level to qualify as a disability AND you have already exhausted any FMLA or other time to which you are entitled, might be a reasonable accommodation.

                            Having you return with a left handed mouse is also legal. (BTW, I use a left handed mouse and type left handed though technically right handed due to years of carpel tunnel).
                            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks, Elle. Not what I wanted to hear, but at least it's clear now.
                              I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X