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  • Help w/my case, lawyer referral...long winded as usual...

    Questions needing answers:
    Recommend a lawyer/firm in Charlotte NC that takes NON SURGICAL cases
    Offer assistance with getting my wages & Rx reimbursements
    Offer assistance with having my medical record changed to reflect that I do NOT have 100% ROM and that my "recovery" only lasted as long as my nerve block (I am unable to get help from vocational rehabilitation because he put in my file (unknown to me) that I was released without restriction, disability or incident.)
    Offer guidance/law regarding adjuster's lack of timely communication, scheduling, mailing documents, etc. (which in my mind, basically amounts to a delay in treatment)
    Offer any other opinions, law, thoughts, feelings, interjections regarding the details of my case as stated below.



    The details:
    I fell at work on April 25, 2005 and hurt my lower back. I was treated in the ER, given a couple of prescriptions and referred to an orthopedic doctor. I paid for the Rx out of pocket because I didn't know who to get the money from and I needed the meds. I told the ER it was a WC case so they billed my boss no problem. When I spoke with the adjuster, she told me to submit the forms to a clearinghouse in AZ. I did exactly what she said, putting my claim number, name, social etc. on everything (first making scans of all my receipts, never trusting the mail). I am still waiting to get my money back (only about $35 all told). I finally received a prescription card about the end of June, but I only used it one time for the meds before my nerve block (July 12, 2005).

    I also missed work from May 3rd through May 19th, at which time I was released to go back, but after trying my regular schedule for 1 week, I was unable to walk and spent 2 days in bed that weekend trying to relieve the pain (even with vicodin). The doctor then put me on 1 shift every other day rather than the 2 split shifts I was working 6 days a week. I continued on this schedule until I had my nerve block done. I was given an L4/L5 central nerve block in July, since surgery was not an option. This doctor felt that my problem was a preexisting "stenosis" agitated by the fall due to the additional swelling and not an injury caused by the fall. I have not received one penny for my wages or my prescriptions. I ask her in just about every email and phone call but she keeps ignoring my requests. The first doctor was paid and has been paid in full since June of 2005. I have sent her copies of my scans repeatedly and explained the days I was out of work, but she insists that I didn't miss 7 days (the required wait period in NC). The reason she has the case is BECAUSE I MISSED 7 days... I had a different adjuster in the beginning (who was way more competent at her job and alot easier to work with IMO) who said she couldn't continue to handle the claim because she only did non monetary claims or something like that.

    After the nerve block was done I was out of work for 1 week to recover and let it rest. The doctor said I was good to go back to normal work since I was not having any pain and had basically my regular range of motion back (which he neglected to mention was already a 10% loss due to herniated discs back in 1988 - which I had been told previously healed) and he released me from care. Unknown to me, he noted in my file that I was released from care with no restrictions, no disability and could basically go about a normal life. Nothing was mentioned that the nerve block could wear off (which they know happens) or that there was a preexisting 10% partial permanent disability due to damage caused by ruptured L4-L5 CDH back in 1988 (which I TOLD HIM ABOUT from the start). Well, the relief was very short lived. In about 3 weeks I attempted to lift a lightly loaded tray (only 3 small plates) and felt a twinge in my back and immediate pain in my back and radiating down my legs. I stopped carrying trays at that point realizing it was a problem. I was able to continue to work, but had tried to contact my adjuster to return to the doctor since I was again in constant pain which was gradually getting more severe as time went on. Well, after many months of calling and leaving messages, calling and actually getting the adjuster on the phone only to be told that she'd look into it, emailing and getting no response, she finally tells me to pick another doctor from a list (which took her over a month to send me, along with 4 excuses as to why it wasn't mailed) and now I have an appt with a new doctor on the 12th for them to determine if this is pre-existing or related to the fall last year. She told me that she will only authorize one visit with this doctor, mentioned something about a field nurse and sent me the date for the appointment last week when I emailed AND called her to find out what the status was since I told her what doctor I had chosen (at least 2 weeks prior). I again emailed her about the nurse (picking me up, meeting me, not going, what?), what, if anything I needed to bring to the dr, did they need release forms or anything before I got there, again asking her about my Rx and Wages, and I have not yet heard from her.


    In anycase, I have tried to contact a few laywers online, and they seem to think there is a case, because regardless of whether or not there is preexisiting damage or condition, it was siginifcantly affected by the fall. Prior to the fall I had not been seen by a doctor for my back in over 2 years. I had worked for almost 18 months before I fell. I never once called out of work because of my back (although, I adjusted my duties to accomodate pain as needed (I do have problems with rain where I experience mild pain 1-2 days before an event, but it was NEVER immobilizing like it is now) but could otherwise do my job without restrictions (other than no lifting over 15lbs or bending over. Basically, my adjustments amounted to nothing more than "good back sense" when doing things that could potentially hurt me.)) I have not been able to find anyone locally to me that will take the case. They all seem to want only surgical or permanent disability cases. I think I may have a permanent disability case at the very least, but I'm wondering if I didn't hurt my back again lifting that tray with the nerve block. I am worse now than when I first fell. My main concern is that I have been trying to get into a doctor since late September and now 6 months have gone by. There is delay in treatment and anything that MIGHT have worked back then may not work now (I'm also limited to what I can and can't take because of medical allergies and liver problems).

    Can anyone recommend a lawyer or firm local to Charlotte NC that would be willing to at least consult with me? I have tried the phone book and lawyer referrals, but I keep ending up with those who only want surgical cases like I said. I really need to get a GOOD lawyer involved because my future is dependent on this. I have 4 children 16, 14, 11, and 9 and if I cannot work, then we will never be able to survive as we are barely making ends meet now. This is also affecting my relationship with my husband in that sometimes my back is so sore that I am not able to have even missionary sex without pain (which is not only in my back but radiates down my legs and throughout my abdomin), which takes the pleasure out of it for him because he doesn't want to hurt me. When I was dealing with my WC case with the herniated discs, my lawyer made sure that the judge knew that the injury was affecting my ability to perform my "wifely duties" as he put it (I was a newlywed back then w/my ex husband) so it had an impact on the decision.

    I have no money to pay for anything, but I believe that WC attorneys get their money from their settlements. Please advise if this is NOT the case in NC.

    Thanks!
    AJ

  • #2
    This site specifically prohibits recommending any one lawyer or firm. I suggest you try Findlaw or another site for a recommendation. Or, call your state WC Commission for a referral.

    It doesn't make sense that a lawyer wouldn't take your case just because surgery isn't recommended as very few WC cases involve surgery. The vast majority are just like yours. An injury and conservative treatment and that is it. Lawyers in WC do only get paid if there is a settlement so I'm wondering if your medicals don't point to your prior back injury being the cause and not this one. You would get reluctance from a lawyer to take on a case they didn't feel was going to be even considered WC from this injury. I don't know as I don't have your medicals to view and I'm not a lawyer or a doctor, but I have seen that happen from the other side of the desk.

    If you feel strongly that it is related to your injury in April, you can file with the WC Commission even without a lawyer. It is nice to have one to advise you, but is not a necessity.
    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


    • #3
      Thanks!

      I understand about the referrals.... thanks for the reference to the other sites though.

      As for the case, it was a WC paralegal or lawyer who called me and discussed the validity of the case. She is the one who told me even if there was preexisting conditions, the fact that the fall has caused me to be out of work and not able to function is reason enough to be covered.

      If the adjuster felt that it was preexisting, why did they pay for my treatment after the first visit? Doesn't their payments to the doctor admit their liability to the claim?

      I have also gotten a referral line from my husband's employer, so maybe they will be able to help me find a lawyer as well.

      Thanks for the input. Is there a "do - it - yourself" kit for WC? Where would I find the WC Commission for NC?

      I am not the only one having problems with this employer and the insurance company. Other employees have been hurt and when they try to file claims they are refused for various reasons (I don't know the specifics of their cases, just know they are also having problems).

      Is there anything I can do about the negligence of the adjuster in her processing timely information/appointments returning calls, emails, etc? All of this has delayed my treatment for nearly 6 months.

      AJ
      Last edited by stressedmominnc; 04-11-2006, 12:18 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        If the adjuster felt that it was preexisting, why did they pay for my treatment after the first visit? Doesn't their payments to the doctor admit their liability to the claim?
        No, it doesn't meant that they are on the hook for it all. Under WC, you only must be restored to as close to yuor pre-injury level as possible. If there is pre-existing, it isn't covered except as it relates to the injury at work. So if it was a back strain on top of DDD, only the back strain part would be covered.

        Thanks for the input. Is there a "do - it - yourself" kit for WC? Where would I find the WC Commission for NC? You can find more info here http://www.comp.state.nc.us/

        If you are having problems with the insurer, then you need to file a claim with the Commission.
        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

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