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injured and feeling helpless
Old 12-19-2010, 07:50 AM   #1
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injured and feeling helpless

I have fairly big problem and would like some unbiased opinions. I had a minor shoulder problem fixed that a year later has turned into a nightmare. It seems a simple pain pump installed during my surgery has killed all the cartliage in my shoulder. My new surgeon says I will need a total replacement. Heres the problem: The original issue was a workers comp claim. They say the new problem was caused by a bad medical device and are not g.oing to cover anymore. I tend to agree, my Dr. told me to get an attourney which I have done(yesterday} I am going to lose my job of 22 years since I work in the trades and will not be able to do that type of work again. I feel bad about getting a lawyer involved as I feel like I became one of the "just give me money" people. I have worked all of my life and will again but I am not going to get the pension or med benefits I was planning on in 10 yrs. I am now 45 and need to keep making a living. My question is whats fair to try for in court. And whats likely. I am guessing I will be sueing he manufacturer and things will be in limbo for a long time. Does anyone know what kind of time frame these things take? I will add more details if anyone wishes but I see this already got lengthy. Thank you
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:54 AM   #2
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I should add that the reason I posted here, is that I read posts here every day and it seems there is a good selection of real people here that have a lot of experiences and wisdom and are willing to share it
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:02 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.......


Sorry to hear about your problems... I will leave some of your questions to others with more experience....


One thing I would see is if you have short term disability (and long term)... it is designed to pay when you can not do your trade... most require that you try and do any job sometime in the future, but not all.... you also might qualify for SS disability...


As for time frame, as your lawyer.... I would say many years from the little knowledge that I have.... you will have to find some other way to get your surgery done and your living expenses...



Also, would you not be getting your pension sometime in the future Not as much as you might have wanted.... but I do not think you lose it because you stop working....
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:55 AM   #4
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I have worked all of my life...
In that case, you have been contributing to SS and maybe eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD - not SSI, which is for those who have never worked), depending on the outcome of your case.

If you can't get back to work, you will also be able to get Medicare, regardless of age, two years from an approved SSD claim. If for some reason you have a full recovery in the future (we wish you well), your SSD/Medicare will stop - but that's not a bad thing to happen if you can return to a "normal" life.

Hey, life happens. I have a son (with developmental disabilities) who went through school, got a degree, but with his challenges was not able to have a "normal" job (even though working in low level jobs in high-school, college, and after he graduated). He/we finally had to face the fact that he would never be able to perform at a level that most of us consider "normal".

We filed for SSD (using specific tests, which we paid $$$ for) and were denied the claim, as most SSD cases normally are handled. It was not until we got the services of a lawyer (through his disability support group, who took on the cases at no fee) that he was approved. Today, he works in a sheltered workshop, lives on his own, and while one of the "working poor", is still contributing to society (yes, he still pays FICA).

SS is not only for old age, but also to cover those "aw sh**" situations in life. You paid for the insurance, now (depending on your specific situation) that insurance will pay for you to at least get by.

Good luck to you...
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:22 AM   #5
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Talk to a lawyer who is knowledgeable about these kinds of cases and the time lines involved, what kind of claim you might have and whether in fact you are or are not eligible for workers compensation anymore. Time lines vary community by community so we will have little idea here how long a suit may take. We also cannot guess your prospects for settlement. You might consider going to a respected lawyer in your community that does not do this kind of work and find out who they recommend, if you are not totally comfortable with your lawyer.
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:27 AM   #6
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thank you for the replies,First to Texas We do hav a short and long term disability plan, I am not sure how it woks but will be checking into it for sure, the repair job will be out of the question until I find a way to pay(around 200k) whether thru the courts or I win the lottery. I am not real worried about day to day stuff in the short term as I have lived fairly frugally and can stand a little storm. I know there are things I can do to survive as far as continuing some kind of work. The frustrating part of the pension thing is that yes I will have enuff to retire at 62 if I just tread water for the next 17 yrs, I just had different dreams that I was on course to do at 55 that now will require a new plan. Maybe scaled down or changed. To rescue: I agree that ssd should be there if I am disabled, but I don't believe I will be,not tatally anyway. As far as life happening you are right again and it could be a lot worse for me. I have had a great carreer for 20+ yrs and I will be thankful for that and not whine about not being able to finish it. Its just that I was very good at it and actually loved it. I think I need to develop you son's attitude, I respect anyone who tries in life. I don't care how much money they make. I know people with money they got the easy way,but they are less happy than those that earn it.
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:31 AM   #7
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good advice Martha, it's not that I am not comfortable with the lawyer that the Dr. referred me to, I have never talked to a lawyer about legal things. I got divorced without one, bought land etc. It's just new to me. I have no idea what to expect and feel like a lawyer might just tell me what I want to hear. Thats why I appreciate you folks
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:40 AM   #8
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Have you had a sit down discussion with the lawyer yet? Make a list of all the questions and concerns you have and have a chat. The lawyer should make time for you and at least address all your questions, including you issues about how you are going to get along until the suit is resolved and what might be sources of payment for your surgery. Have you used up any FMLA (where the employer still pays its share of health insurance) and COBRA? Are you now uninsured?
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:50 AM   #9
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All I have done so far is initiate things, I just found out this past friday about the seriousness of the whole deal, I maxed out on sick leave 10 years ago so I should be able to use that...I hope. I guess I am pushing the panic button a little soon. I just have never had a problem in life that made me feel vulnerable. I've had bumps in life but I always could imagine a way thru. I will start my list for the lawyer right now,thanks
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:57 AM   #10
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If you are still covered by your employers health insurance that may be your source of payment for the surgery. You will want to preserve your insurance as long as you can--another for the list for the lawyer.

Take care!
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:11 AM   #11
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I am covered by my employer plan, My Dr. is thinking BC/BS might say no for the same reason as workers comp, its the fault of the manufacturer. But I will check that
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:14 AM   #12
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Welcome and sorry about your problem !
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyboy View Post
I should add that the reason I posted here, is that I read posts here every day and it seems there is a good selection of real people here that have a lot of experiences and wisdom and are willing to share it
I would say find out who are the really good, aggressive malpractice, personal injury and tort lawyers in your area, see each of them, and lose your concern about what is right. What is right is the most you can possibly get, as you have taken a big hit, not only to your health but also to your ability to work and take care of your family. These losses can be worth a lot with the right man or woman representing you.

There are experienced attorneys on this board who will likely have more focused suggestions.

Best of luck.

Ha
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:43 AM   #14
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I would say find out who are the really good, aggressive malpractice, personal injury and tort lawyers in your area, see each of them, and lose your concern about what is right. What is right is the most you can possibly get, as you have taken a big hit, not only to your health but also to your ability to work and take care of your family. These losses can be worth a lot with the right man or woman representing you.
I agree. Find a quality attorney and get all you can.

Around 20 years ago my mom fell off a ladder at work. She broke her shoulder and had 2 botched surgerys. They proved malpractice but because of the cheap lawyer my mom only got 5-figures. Between doctors and physical therapists, that money was gone after a couple years even though she still had my dad's insurance. She has been given 20% disability which is the highest her doctor has ever heard of for a shoulder injury but it's still not enough to get SSD. She also has fibromyalgia and severe migraines. She can't work at all outside of the home and gets no compensation for her condition. She spends $500+/mo out of pocket for pain relief that barely puts a dent in the pain.

I hope my short story incourages you to get a QUALITY attorney and get what you deserve. Best of luck to you.
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:04 AM   #15
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Welcome.

Sorry about your medical problem.

Sorry about you getting caught in the short squeeze for medical coverage. Health care is often debated here.

I am glad you posted so some of the people here that are opposed to fixing our health care system can witness real examples of people who worked all their life, contributed in our American system (such as it is) , get sick or have some circumstances beyond their control happen and get the shaft because of our broken system.

Thanks for sharing your situation.
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:28 AM   #16
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billyboy,
I'd second the comments about getting a good attorney, as recovery through the legal system is going to be the best opportunity to get your medical problems resolved and taking care of yourself and family. Don't worry about "taking advantage" of the system--you don't have any real idea yet about what caused the problem with your shoulder, but you know that the folks who would normally treat it have said it was caused by malpractice. You are now officially stuck in a crack in the "system", and the only relief offered by the big machine is through the courts. It's an expensive, inefficient, slow way of sorting these things out, but that's the only system we've got for attributing responsibility for your situation and determining who should pay and how much. I'm hoping the smart folks here will help give you lots more good tips on how to find a good lawyer.

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I am glad you posted so some of the people here that are opposed to fixing our health care system . . .
I've only been posting here a few years, but I've never seen a post that said our medical "system" didn't need fixing. Nearly everyone who has posted on that issue has proposed improvements. Just because I might disagree with a particular idea, I wouldn't conclude that the author was "opposed to fixing our medical care system."
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:44 AM   #17
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Welcome to the forums and best of luck in getting your shoulder fixed.

I don't think people will see you as trying to take advantage of the system since you contacted the attorney only because your new doctor recommended you do so.
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Old 12-19-2010, 12:09 PM   #18
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Yes, go with the good attorney. You have to deal with the system we have, not an ideal system it would be nice to have. What you are fairly owed is what the courts decide the relative liabilities are -- or what you and the other side(s) agree to settle at.
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Old 12-19-2010, 12:14 PM   #19
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I am covered by my employer plan, My Dr. is thinking BC/BS might say no for the same reason as workers comp, its the fault of the manufacturer. But I will check that

I question your doctor's opinion on this issue. The insurance company may end up paying for the surgery and then depending on state law, may have a claim against any recovery you get for medical expenses. Keep in mind that I am only raising issues to bring up with your lawyer. See my signature.
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:37 PM   #20
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Martha(and all of you folks), you have given me more ideas and things to look into in the last few hours than I found the rest of the weekend googling on my own. I should have come here first. I appreciate all the ideas and thoughts more than any of you know. My list for the lawyer is getting long, thats good since I really didn't know what I was going to say
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