Cervical fusion workers comp settlement question?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Tifton, GA

i injured my neck and shoulder at work.had shoulder injections and a 1 level cervical fusion.im a hvac service tech and installer.i herniated 3 disc in my neck but only one was fused.my dr said i could possibly have to address the other 2 down the road.should that possibility of future surgery be considered in the settlement?what is the normal permanent restrictions for a 1 level cervical fusion?my employer has already laid me off.will i be able to continue in this work field?.........ps.insurance company tried to settle without surgery for 100k.why?

Attorney answers (8)

  1. Charles C. Hamilton

    Contributor Level 11

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First off, get a lawyer. Whether it's me or somebody else that has experience in WC, don't do this yourself. You have a serious situation with serious consequences.

    To directly answer your questions:

    1. Yes, future surgeries should be considered in any settlement. Realize that if you do settle, you will be taking responsibility for your future care, so don't do it lightly.

    2. If by "permanent restrictions" you mean work restrictions, typically with a C-fusion it involves lifting restrictions, limited above-shoulder level work, no overhead work, etc.

    3. You may or may not be able to stay in your line of work. Frankly, it sounds tough to me. Depends on how you heal and just how physical your typical job duties are.

    4. You probably know the answer to why they want to settle already -- to save them money. If you have a surgery, they have to pay for it plus stay on the risk for future care. Studies have shown that the longer a person is out of work, the less likely they are to ever return to work, so insurers want to get you off of their books early.

    Good luck to you.

  2. L. Ty Wilson

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    8

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Mr. Hamilton is right, you need an attorney, attempting to settle this matter on your own is dangerous. As far as your questions are concerned:

    Will you be able to do work in this field again? That is going to be up to your work restrictions determined by your doctor. I have represented someone in this field in the past and they hand multiple back surgeries, and were NOT able to return to the hvac work field.

    If you are going to potentially need additional surgeries on your spine, you may not be able to return to that type of work, or at least the physical parts of that type of work.

    You should focus on what you can do, and if you are going to settle this claim what you can do with the money to retrain yourself to a less physically demanding job. This is a minor set back and not something you should let keep you down.

    My most successful clients are ones who use the settlement money to obtain a degree or certification in a field that will allow them to make the same or better amount of money without the physical wear and tear.

    Do you have to settle now? If you have been terminated you should be receiving weekly checks and medical care. This is something you should look at closely. It is always dangerous dealing with the insurance company directly.

    The insurance company knows if you are still under workers compensation and have to have multiple levels of your spine operated on your claim could become a great deal more expensive to them.

    Take your time speak with several attorneys find someone you are comfortable with and discuss what would be their plan of action. It is what is best for you and your loved ones.

    Good luck.

    Ty

    This response is for general information only, no attorney client privilege has been established by this communication.
  3. Robert M. Gardner Jr.

    Contributor Level 18

    6

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Do not settle without first speaking to an experienced worker's comp attorney or, if you already have them, listen to their advice. If you settle with no provision for the insurance company paying future medical expenses, a future back surgery will cost a large part of your settlement. The reason you were offered an amount before surgery is because they did not want to have to pay for it. The other side knows exactly what is going on and what the costs and benefits to settling are. Make sure that you do too.

    The above information is general in nature. In order to obtain more specific and legal advice upon which to base... more
  4. W. Zachary Hendon Jr.

    Contributor Level 10

    4

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Yes future surgery cost should be a part of any settlement. The insurer offered you a settlement to try to cut your cost. Call me and I will be glad to discuss all of the facts of your case with you.

  5. Thomas L. Holder

    Contributor Level 11

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You will be able to continue working in your field if you are physically able, but you will have to sign a letter of resignation as part of your settlement. You would, however, be able to work for another company. I think you need a lawyer to help assess the value of your case.

  6. Timothy Minthorn Klob

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you do not yet have a workers' compensation attorney, then you should obtain one immediately and before you proceed any further with settlement discussions. If you do have an attorney, however, then these questions should be directed to them since Bar guidelines severely restrict attorneys from discussing legal matters with individuals known to be represented by another lawyer. Your questions are all good questions, and the courses of action you take in response to each of these questions can and will have a permanent impact on the rest of your life. Because your case involves a serious injury with surgery and permanent restrictions, it is simply not possible to provide thorough answers here which address all second-order effects and which would fully ensure that your rights are protected. For this reason, you absolutely must contact an attorney directly to discuss your situation either by phone or in person, and you should retain an experienced Georgia workers' compensation attorney immediately. I wish you the best with your claim and with your continued efforts to regain your health. Regardless of whether you contact me or one of the many excellent attorneys who have responded to your questions and concerns, I strongly encourage you to contact and retain an attorney before you proceed any further with your claim. Best regards.

    Timothy M. Klob
    Klob Law Firm
    770-554-8100

    Provision of information in response to this question does not create an attorney-client relationship and the... more
  7. Nathan Edward Woody

    Pro

    Contributor Level 7

    2

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . I agree with everyone here. You will need an attorney to get the best result for this kind of case. Very best of luck.

  8. David J. McCormick

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Given the fact that your doctor has stated you may need future surgery you need to contact a local worker’s comp. attorney ASAP. Based on your permanent work restrictions your may no longer be able to do your job, and could be entitled to a loss of earning capacity claim. Call an attorney.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being... more

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