A Case Study for workers’ compensation

Mr. Smith suffered a work injury. He was employed as a crane operator, laborer and also worked shipping and receiving. His job duties could include heavy lifting at times, using chains to hook up loads, bending, stooping, squatting and climbing. On the day he was hurt he and a coworker were moving a steel beam onto a pallet. As his coworker was walking backwards the coworker lost his balance and fell. Mr. Smith attempted to swing the beam so it would not fall onto his friend and in doing so he felt something pull in his back.

Mr. Smith followed up with the employer’s panel of doctors who diagnosed his work injury as a strain. The Workers Compensation Insurance Company only accepted the injury as a sprain. He treated with the Panel doctors who, within 2 months released him to return to work. The workers’ compensation insurance company stopped paying him.

He continued to have problems and went and saw a doctor of his choosing after the 90 days elapsed. An MRI was performed which showed a disc herniation and fragment. He underwent surgery for a discectomy, and laminectomy. Following surgery he continued to have pain. Within a year he had to undergo repeat surgery for a revision and fusion. After 6 months of therapy and treatment he had improved but his doctors told him he would never be able to go back to his previous type of work again.

He hires our office, Dugan & Associates Lawyers Representing Injured People and we successfully take the insurance company to court and are successful in getting his injury to include the disc herniation and surgery, get him paid his weekly compensation checks ($496 a week) and his medical bills past and in to the future for the work injury paid.

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company then obtained and IME, an Independent (or Insurance) Medical Exam by a physician of their choosing. Of course their doctor has performed many of these exams for the insurance company over the years making millions of dollars in the process-but by law Mr. Smith must cooperate and attend. No surprise This IME doctor tells Mr. Smith nothing but then writes a letter to the insurance company that Mr. Smith can return to work albeit modified duty.

Several steps happen after his Insurance Medical Exam and the next thing he realizes is that the workers compensation insurance company hires an attorney and takes Mr. Smith to court to stop his checks on the basis he can return to work. Litigation ensues and Mr. Smith is in court feeling like he’s the bad guy when he did nothing wrong. It wasn’t his fault he got hurt. He wants to work but no one will hire him. And the economy is terrible. Mr. Smith feels like he is fighting for his life, his wife and fighting for his kids. Fortunately he is not alone. He has Dugan & Associates on his side.

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