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I have been out of work since an injury 11/23/09. I injured…

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I have been out of...
I have been out of work since an injury 11/23/09. I injured myself pulling up a patient in bed. I had severe pain, as well as numbness in my shoulder with numbness down my arm. I reported this to my work, as required.
There were delays seeing a doctor thru my employer, then with physical therapy starting. I was sent by the worker's comp group to obtain a second opinion, and there was a lenthy delay in getting in to see him as well. Another delay for physical therapy, finally got a second MRI. The second doctor stated nothing wrong with my shoulder, it could be coming from my neck or back, but he doubted worker's comp would continue to pay for treatment or further investigation to the injury. The nerve study I had noted that I had a trigger point in my upper back just below my shoulder that both doctors did not address.
I called my worker's comp group to have them inform me they stopped paying me the day of the last doctor's visit. The doctor did not release me to no limitations as he noted I still had pain and limited movement, but did not want to give me permanent limitations. I told my worker's comp. rep that if I was going to have to live with this the rest of my life, couldn't I go back to physcial therapy at least to get strengthening for the affected arm(Left handed, left arm affected), as I didn't even have the movement that I had just after this injury. I received a "I'll send you another check as we didn't receive the doctor's report until late. We'll get back to you, but you really need to look for a job."
How can I look for a job when no one will take me with no limitations and not being released back to full duty? What am I supposed to do? I am a single parent, 3 children, and no other income.
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 16 hours by:
6/23/2010
Employment Lawyer: AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney replied 8 years ago
AlexiaEsq.
AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,637
Experience: 19+ Years of Legal Practice in the Employment law arena.
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Dear jacustomer,

 

When the workers compensation carrier is not properly or fairly handling your claim, it is time to get a workers compensation attorney to make sure you get what you are entitled to. They generally work without retainer, on a contingent basis, so it is a no brainer and affordable, obviously.

 

With regard to working, you can decide to work in another line of work and there is no crime in that - or doing a lighter duty type job in your industry if that is what you want to do. For instance, if your prior work is quite strenuous and you need to not be lifting 200 lb. men, you will need to get a job that is less physical. Hopefully in time, you will become physically strong again, but otherwise, you need to start looking at jobs in tune with your abilities.

 

 

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

I was given to understand that costs and fees are two entirely different things. In terms of a worker's compensation lawyer, I was informed that although they worked on contingency or cost, I would be responsible for the fees of a lawyer to research any reports that they would need from the doctors, as well as any time they put into the case themselves.

Obviously this is a concern as my finances as extremely slim.

 

In terms of job hunting, I was attempting to find a different branch in nursing. However, as I have not been released for full duty or given restrictions, I was told that until I was given either, no one would even consider me for employment.

 

Employment Lawyer: AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney replied 8 years ago

No, it doesn't work that way. Legal fee is for work time put in - that is what is the contingent fee. Costs are out of pockets that you have to incur even if you represent yourself, IF you are to do so compentently. For instance, if you go to trial and need to hire a doctor to testify, that would be a cost. Your lawyer earns nothing from that, and it is a cost to you. But if your lawyer does research, that is in his legal fee, which is paid at the end of a winning case and not owed or paid if you lose.

 

Attorney fees in Virginia workers' compensation cases are regulated by the Commission. Attorneys are not entitled to a fee for their services unless the Commission says so. Attorneys fees are awarded by the Commission on a claim by claim or case by case basis; there is no attorney fee schedule. As a general rule, the amount of the attorney fee is directly related to the amount of compensation the lawyer wins or otherwise obtains, whether by settlement or award, for his client. Thus, as previously stated, legal representation in workers' compensation cases is very affordable in Virginia. With regard to permanent partial disability (PPD), the Commission generally awards the attorney 15% of the total amount of the permanency award. If the Claimant's lawyer settles the case for a lump sum settlement, the lawyer's fee will usually not exceed 20% of the lump sum.

 

Here is one such firm that handles these, that also provides a great read on the WC system in VA. http://www.ashcraftandgerel.com/virginia-workers-comp-claims.html

 

Also, it is certainly possible to work while on Workers Compensation. Obviously, if you have limits, you don't take a job that surpasses those. I also wouldn't be gratuitoiusly telling a prospective employer that I am unable to do the job due to medical reasons - since the job I'd be applying for would only be one that I was qualified for, physically. If you earn money, your wage benefits may stop or be reduced accordingly, but your medical care should continue. You will want to discuss this with your lawyer.

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