The workers’ compensation system in California is designed to work without a lawyer. But inevitably the employer and insurance carrier will take advantage of the rules to the detriment of a injured worker. I just settled a case were the client had been suffering back problems related to his injury and a construction worker. He sustained a back injury way back in 2015 and went on to have back surgery in 2016. The microdisectomy did a good job of relieving the applicant’s pain and he was able to go back to work with missing a minimal amount of time. The applicant went back to work too soon. The employer at first gave the applicant a modified job, which was great. But over time, they put him back into the normal job duties that caused the injury in the first place. The applicant had experience and the intelligence to be a supervisor or manager that would have allowed to do less heavy lifting. But the employer put him in back to work and simply cut back some of his hours, blaming the change of schedule on the lack of business. The continued work caused the applicant to constantly go to the doctor for evaluations, diagnostic studies and treatment. In our system, going to the doctor under these circumstances does not permit reimbursement through temporary disability.
With no advocate, with no attorney, applicant had no idea that he could go to another doctor, a better doctor, that could take him off of work, enabling him to get TTD benefits. By the time the applicant got to my office in 2018, he had already been declared P&S by his treating doctor and the PQME. I was left to pick up the pieces and push back. We took the PQME’s deposition and he agreed that some additional benefits should be paid as a result of the employer’s failure to properly accommodate. Better yet, we were able to prove that the impairment ratings should be much higher, going form a 18% to 26%. Had the applicant come to my office back in 2015 or 2016, nearer in time to the injury, we would have handled things differently. But we were able to salvage the case for the client and now he has lifetime medical to deal with his back issues. A “Petition to Reopen” will be next for his gentleman. We have calendared the Statute of limitations for 2020.
If you need help to determine if a workers’ comp lawyer can help you better resolve your claim. Contact my office at 714/558-9729.