Need advice re: disability vs workman's comp

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by AnnetClo, May 19, 2003.

  1. AnnetClo

    AnnetClo New Member

    okay, let me warn you that this is going to be long, but I truly need your input.

    In April 2001 I fell down some steps in the building where I work. There was a loose piece of rubber covering the front of the step and when I stepped on it, it pulled away from the step and I fell forward. (Maint guy told me, "sorry, we just don't have time to fix all of those stairs".) Any way from then until May 2002, I went through PT, exercises at home, a TENS machine, nerve blocks, EMG, etc. but nothing worked. Finally the ortho did an MRI and found a bulging disc & DDD. He decided that after a year of treatment that wasn't helping that I should have the surgery. I did on May 20, 2002. Well I had started having pains that didn't seem to fit the pain from the fall before the surgery, but right after the surgery all hell broke loose. I went to the rheumy in November of 2002 and was dx'd with fibro and found the dr that I'm seeing now for treatment. I dont' have a problem with the way he's treating me. He prescribes, Elavil for sleep, Percocet 7.5 mg TID, Soma 350 mg TID. Well the Workman's comp claim was settled in April of this year and we are waiting to see what the 3rd party insurance company for the building is going to do. I have never mentioned to the attorney that I thought there was a connection of the fibro to the fall or the surgery, although I know in my heart that there is. I just didn't feel like there was any way to prove it and to be honest, I have felt too bad to even fool with it. But the attorney's office called this morning just to touch base and I told her that this fibro (and CFS, even though I haven't been dx'd with that, I know I have it cause I have all the symptoms) is really just kicking my ass. I'm out of work more that I have ever been and I've worked since the day I turned 16. I can't afford to lose my job, but guys, I really honestly and truly don't know how much longer I can get up and come in here every day. I know I'm not dying, but I can promise you I feel like it many days. According to the lady at the attorney's office I'm in luck (wouldn't that be a surprise). She said I signed a Form 21 with W/C which just means I'm still working for the company that I worked for when I fell and that means that W/C has to cover my medical bills, etc pertaining to the injury for up to 2 years. Now the dilemma. I saw a rheumy in Nov to diagnose the fibro, but this was a new doc and I knew more than he did about it even then and I didn't know much at all. My current doctor treats me for the fibro, but I don't know if he really understands. Who do I see that will listen to me long enough to try and determine if the fibro was most likely brought on by the fall and subsequent surgery. I was thinking about Dr. Lapp cause I thought he was in Charlotte, but I've been reading a couple of articles about him and I'm not sure about that. Did you know that I read in one article where he advocated the Phen Fen? And he sure doesn't use pain meds. I would love to prove that the injury was likely the cause of my fibro, so maybe W/C could help pay my salary for me to work fewer hours or no hours until I can get the disability done. Do you think my little GP's thoughts will matter or should I try and find someone else. And if I need to find someone else, any thoughts on who it should be? If there's a possibility I can use W/C to help me with this, I certainly would do that, but I don't want to screw anything up. Help please. Andy suggestions welcomed.

    Hugs
    Annette
  2. AnnetClo

    AnnetClo New Member

    I definitely plan to fight it, with my attorney's help. I just want to make sure that the doctor that is treating me is going to be believed/accepted in the suit. Should I rely on a general practitioner or try to find a rheumy who's opinion might carry more weight.

    And I will definitely look up your articles.

    Hugs
    Annette
  3. joannie1

    joannie1 New Member

    I went through a terribly messy work comp situation that has lead to the Fibro too. So, do I believe there is a connection you betcha.. I think that you should do a little research and print it out about injury and Fibro and then take it with you to see your Doc. Explain that your injury never healed and it led to Fibro. Explain that you have research on this that indeed Fibro is triggered my trauma and injury and see if they will not help you. Explain everything and if your Doc isn't willing to help you go on to the next Doc. I know how you feel though. I have been out of work since March of 2000. So, do your research and begin your search for a supportive Doc. That is the most you can do. I would do a search on here for because i recall seeing someones post on resaerch about fibro and injury/trauma related to one another. I wish you the best of luck okay.
    Love,
    Joannie
  4. AnnetClo

    AnnetClo New Member

    I don't want to get involved in a workman's comp case. And actually I never intended for anyone other than my ortho surgeon. But I don't have any disability insurance at the place I work, and I really really need some time off and I don't know how to do that unless it comes from W/C. Just wish me luck and thanks so much for your help.

    Annette
  5. AnnetClo

    AnnetClo New Member

    It's unpaid. At least with W/C you get a portion of your salary. Thanks for the thought, though. I don't know what I would do without all the good advice on this board.

    Hugs
    Annette
  6. bakron

    bakron New Member

    I would definitely discuss this issue with an attorney. Workers' Compensation (W/C) claims can become a legal "mesh' (mess). If you have a claim under W/C, you may be requested by the agency that employs you to have an independent evaluation if there is a question as to the injury causing the condition. This just depends on agency, state W/C is in, etc. Please check with an attorney or call the person that you spoke to when your claim was "active."

    As for the Family Medical Leave Act, here is a good resource: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/fmla/faq.asp

    You may be eligible for any state or private disability plan that you might have paid into while out on leave. The FMLA does not require the employer to pay you; the leave would be without pay, most likely.

    Your other recourse would be to sue privately if you feel that your condition is due to the injury sustained and if you were unable to pursue with W/C. This is where your attorney could be advise you.
  7. AnnetClo

    AnnetClo New Member

    The girl that I dealt with during the W/C phase of the claim is out of the office until probably Wed cause she's having wisdom teeth removed. I'll talk to you then and see if they can come up with a doc to see. Also I think I might check online at the NC Industrial commission site and see who some of the docs who testified in the FM related cases are. I'll keep looking. I just know that I absolutely cannot go on much longer like this.

    Hugs
    Annette