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Thread: Unable to find work after workmans comp injury

  1. #1
    murphybrown is offline Junior Member
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    Unable to find work after workmans comp injury

    I am in Arizona and I was injured on a construction site on October 9, 2012. A piece of tie wire I was standing on broke and I fell into a 1'-0" wide by 15'-0" deep form we were preparing to pour concrete into. My knee was injured and I was taken to an Urgent Care Center where I was drug tested and then diagnosed with a knee sprain. I was put on limited work but I soon found out my employer planned to have me sweep floors all day long but I was in too much pain to walk so I didn't show up. I went to my next appointment to get my MRI and I found out that I could not get the MRI because payment had been denied by the workmans comp insurance carrier ZURICH INSURANCE Co.

    Even though I was told by the President of the company I would be put on limited work and not have to walk, I never returned because I didn't want them to attempt to force me to sweep floors and risk further injury.

    I stopped going to work and I never answered the calls from work or the insurance company calls because I wanted to talk to a lawyer first to protect myself. Well, I got distracted with the pain and now it's already November 29, 2012 and it's been almost 2 months since this happened.

    I've been applying to job after job trying to get work that I'm qualified for but I can't seem to find anything.

    Can I still file a workmans comp claim and collect a portion of the income I would be making if I was still able to work construction?

    Feel free to ask any questions if I wasn't clear on anything.

    Thanks

    ~MurphyBrown
  2. #2
    OHRoadwarrior is offline Senior Member
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    You have likely ended your ability to collect against this claim without a lawyer intervening. You also may have tainted your employment history.
  3. #3
    commentator is offline Senior Member
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    Your mistake was to quit when asked to sweep. If they were going to pay you to sweep, it was only your delicious pride which caused you to say, "You can't make me do this, I'm a ....(professional whatever you were)." You fell right into their hands, because when you self terminated from the job before you'd reached maximum medical improvement you gave up all rights to the medical disability payments you'd have gotten till the doctor released you (the 66% of your regular wage you were being paid while on temp disability.)

    Why the employer is strongly motivated to give you light duty instead of allowing your full absence from work while on Worker's Comp is to keep you in the idea of working. If you are having to get up and come to work every day anyhow, you will be strongly motivated to get released to full duty soon. The doctor who is treating you must decide if the light duty job was appropriate. I find it hard to believe that you were actually going to be hurting yourself by sweeping, it appears to me that the injury was to your pride.

    If you'd retained an attorney, they'd have advised you to wait this one out, sweep when asked to sweep, but you didn't have any risk of being fired for not sweeping too hard. I've seen people given light duty to sort widgets, at the end of the day, the company would spill the boxes out again and tell them to sort them again tomorrow. It's to get you in there, make you get up and come to work every day, and yes, they can legally ask you to do light duty if your doctor says you are able.

    But if you had been put on Worker's Comp, your claim would have still been in effect until you were released by the doctor, even though you had quit, your Worker's comp claim would still in effect for medical reasons. You'd still continue to see this doctor until you are released, and worker's comp will pay the medical bills. But you didn't even respond to the worker's comp people's calls to you, and so your claim was totally denied. What a shame you couldn't be bothered with answering a few legitimate questions from them. It was possibly the worst thing you could have done for yourself.

    Hiring a lawyer at this point will not get you any thing that you would not get anyway, certainly they cannot get you the old job back or get you your temp diability back or change the status of your claim. Worker's comp means you can't otherwise sue the employer for the injury, either. If worker's comp was denied, I imagine if you had the money and time, .....oh well. But it sounds as though you needed good advice from someone you'll listen to, so a consult with an attorney may not be a bad idea.

    Surprised it is hard for you to find another construction job (or job of any type), are you? Well, are you even released by your doctor? I would not be at all surprised that employers would avoid you like the plague right now, because even if you don't tell them, the most cursory check of your references will give them the situation why you left the last job, and for heaven's sake, you were denied worker's comp and now are still injured. No one is going to come up right now and put you to work and let you re-injure yourself and finish up your disability case at the expense of their Worker's Comp insurance.

    It would not a be a bad idea for you to file for unemployment benefits right now. Because you voluntarily quit the job your chances are not very great of being approved, but you may be able to pick up a job later, while the claim is still in place, and work a while and then draw unemployment benefits. If you wait several months to file without working anywhere, you'll lose quarters of wages and will eventually not have enough wages to make an unemployment claim.
    Last edited by commentator; 11-30-2012 at 10:22 AM.
  4. #4
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    "Sweep floors" is a generic term that means one would be given "busy work" that really doesn't matter. You "heard" that you were going to "sweep floors" - but nobody actually told you to do that.
    Texan Polymath likes this.
  5. #5
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by commentator View Post
    Your mistake was to quit when asked to sweep.
    OP was never actually asked to sweep floors.
  6. #6
    commentator is offline Senior Member
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    He was put on light duty but "soon found out that his employer meant to have him sweep floors all day." Whether he found this out through the grapevine or whether the employer told him this directly, he still did a very very silly thing by not accepting the light duty, at least showing up for it. Almost as stupid as not taking the calls from the Worker's comp people who were attempting to decide what to do about his case.
  7. #7
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by commentator View Post
    He was put on light duty but "soon found out that his employer meant to have him sweep floors all day."
    Followed by:
    ...I was told by the President of the company I would be put on limited work and not have to walk...

    Being in a closely related industry (manufacturing), I stand by my statement that "sweep floors" is simply a slang way of saying that they'd find something for him to do...
  8. #8
    Willlyjo Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by commentator View Post
    Your mistake was to quit when asked to sweep. If they were going to pay you to sweep, it was only your delicious pride which caused you to say, "You can't make me do this, I'm a ....(professional whatever you were)." You fell right into their hands, because when you self terminated from the job before you'd reached maximum medical improvement you gave up all rights to the medical disability payments you'd have gotten till the doctor released you (the 66% of your regular wage you were being paid while on temp disability.)

    Why the employer is strongly motivated to give you light duty instead of allowing your full absence from work while on Worker's Comp is to keep you in the idea of working. If you are having to get up and come to work every day anyhow, you will be strongly motivated to get released to full duty soon. The doctor who is treating you must decide if the light duty job was appropriate. I find it hard to believe that you were actually going to be hurting yourself by sweeping, it appears to me that the injury was to your pride.

    If you'd retained an attorney, they'd have advised you to wait this one out, sweep when asked to sweep, but you didn't have any risk of being fired for not sweeping too hard. I've seen people given light duty to sort widgets, at the end of the day, the company would spill the boxes out again and tell them to sort them again tomorrow. It's to get you in there, make you get up and come to work every day, and yes, they can legally ask you to do light duty if your doctor says you are able.

    But if you had been put on Worker's Comp, your claim would have still been in effect until you were released by the doctor, even though you had quit, your Worker's comp claim would still in effect for medical reasons. You'd still continue to see this doctor until you are released, and worker's comp will pay the medical bills. But you didn't even respond to the worker's comp people's calls to you, and so your claim was totally denied. What a shame you couldn't be bothered with answering a few legitimate questions from them. It was possibly the worst thing you could have done for yourself.

    Hiring a lawyer at this point will not get you any thing that you would not get anyway, certainly they cannot get you the old job back or get you your temp diability back or change the status of your claim. Worker's comp means you can't otherwise sue the employer for the injury, either. If worker's comp was denied, I imagine if you had the money and time, .....oh well. But it sounds as though you needed good advice from someone you'll listen to, so a consult with an attorney may not be a bad idea.

    Surprised it is hard for you to find another construction job (or job of any type), are you? Well, are you even released by your doctor? I would not be at all surprised that employers would avoid you like the plague right now, because even if you don't tell them, the most cursory check of your references will give them the situation why you left the last job, and for heaven's sake, you were denied worker's comp and now are still injured. No one is going to come up right now and put you to work and let you re-injure yourself and finish up your disability case at the expense of their Worker's Comp insurance.

    It would not a be a bad idea for you to file for unemployment benefits right now. Because you voluntarily quit the job your chances are not very great of being approved, but you may be able to pick up a job later, while the claim is still in place, and work a while and then draw unemployment benefits. If you wait several months to file without working anywhere, you'll lose quarters of wages and will eventually not have enough wages to make an unemployment claim.
    Even if the OP quit his job, he is still entitled to Workers Comp Benefits due to his work related injury. Part of the benefits is total temporary disability (TTD) payments. These payments may be hard to get since the OP quit his job, but an attorney can help him get them eventually. It might even take a 'Findings and Award' by the judge to get them, but since the injury was reported before the OP quit his job, he has a good case in which to get his benefits.

    Once the OP does become permanent and stationary (MMI), he can then file for unemployment if he hasn't been out on medical leave for more than a year. If he is out even half a year, his unemployment benefits will be substantially less.
  9. #9
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willlyjo View Post
    Even if the OP quit his job, he is still entitled to Workers Comp Benefits due to his work related injury. Part of the benefits is total temporary disability (TTD) payments. These payments may be hard to get since the OP quit his job, but an attorney can help him get them eventually. It might even take a 'Findings and Award' by the judge to get them, but since the injury was reported before the OP quit his job, he has a good case in which to get his benefits.

    Once the OP does become permanent and stationary (MMI), he can then file for unemployment if he hasn't been out on medical leave for more than a year. If he is out even half a year, his unemployment benefits will be substantially less.
    Focus -

    OP has been refusing to cooperate with the insurance company.
    Antigone* likes this.
  10. #10
    Willlyjo Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Zigner View Post
    Focus -

    OP has been refusing to cooperate with the insurance company.
    Quit nitpicking Zig...the OP wants to get a lawyer to deal with the Insurance Company. He will get his benefits eventually.
  11. #11
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willlyjo View Post
    Quit nitpicking Zig...the OP wants to get a lawyer to deal with the Insurance Company. He will get his benefits eventually.
    OP has benefits. OP doesn't want to be bothered with obtaining them.
  12. #12
    Antigone* is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zigner View Post
    OP has benefits. OP doesn't want to be bothered with obtaining them.
    I think it is time for "someone" (no names being used) to go sweep some floors
    Zigner likes this.
  13. #13
    Willlyjo Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Zigner View Post
    OP has benefits. OP doesn't want to be bothered with obtaining them.
    Didn't you read where the OP was refused an MRI? Apparently he doesn't have all his benefits.
  14. #14
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willlyjo View Post
    Didn't you read where the OP was refused an MRI? Apparently he doesn't have all his benefits.
    I suspect the MRI was deemed to not be medically necessary. In any case, the OP has refused to communicate with the insurance company for quite some time.
  15. #15
    commentator is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willlyjo View Post
    Even if the OP quit his job, he is still entitled to Workers Comp Benefits due to his work related injury. Part of the benefits is total temporary disability (TTD) payments. These payments may be hard to get since the OP quit his job, but an attorney can help him get them eventually. It might even take a 'Findings and Award' by the judge to get them, but since the injury was reported before the OP quit his job, he has a good case in which to get his benefits.

    Once the OP does become permanent and stationary (MMI), he can then file for unemployment if he hasn't been out on medical leave for more than a year. If he is out even half a year, his unemployment benefits will be substantially less.
    You're about to wander into the land where nothing is funny here. Yes, POSSIBLY since the injury was reported before the OP quit, the OP could manage to overcome the vast amount of damage he has done to himself by refusing to cooperate with the worker's comp program, if he gets an attorney and appeals, saying he was what? overcome with total stupidity for a period of time after his injury?

    But for heaven's sake, do not start giving him advice about signing up for unemployment insurance. If this guy waits to sign up for unemployment benefits for any length of time, quarters of work will be disappearing from his work history. The past 18 months is what is used. Even if he is not able to work at the present time, which is questionable, given that he is out looking for work right now, and he voluntarily quit his job, NOT because he was medically too ill to continue, but because he'd heard a rumor that he wasn't going to like what they offered him as light duty, and he's very likely not going to be eligible, he needs to set up a claim immediately.

    If he waits even half a year the benefits will be "substantially less" is a great understatement. There might not BE any benefits at all. Once the claim is set up, it will be good for a whole year from that date, if at any time during the year he does become eligible. So he needs to file now, even before he gets this super lawyer and fights his way back out of this dreadful tangle of changed mind regarding his worker's comp, which he could have gotten through totally without an attorney's cost if he'd just picked up the blasted phone and answered their questions.
    Last edited by commentator; 12-01-2012 at 07:40 AM.
    Zigner likes this.

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