Mr. Solt's answer is accurate but the real question is why haven't you hired a lawyer yet? I've been representing injured workers for over 35 years and from my experience, the worst mistake workers make is waiting to see a lawyer until it's too late. Trusting the WC carrier, the doctors they choose, the nurse case manager and the adjuster is like letting the fox watch the henhouse. Workers who do so are blind to the truth and end up with no job and not much of a case. Find the most aggressive claimant lawyer now and don't wait any longer.
Your Ortho surgeon's MMI should not affect your treatment with your physiatrist. Your benefits should continue status quo until your physiatrist also places you at MMI or you use up your temporary benefits. Factors that affect your current situation include your age and how long you have already received benefits. In addition to the possible permanent disability as discussed above, you may also be able to apply for social security disability if you are unable to work. It is likely that the insurance company will try to h ave you attend an IME (independent medical exam) or FCE (functional capacity exam) on their behalf. You should contact an attorney who handles workers' compensation cases as soon as possible as you are approaching a critical time in your case. I also handle workers' compensation cases in your area and would be happy to assist you.
If you have made it this long without an attorney, you have been lucky. You really need to hire one at this point in time. There are more details to the case we need to know to properly answer your questions. First thing that comes into my mind is how old are you? What's your work history? Educational level? What's your date of accident (can of drastic affect on the value of your case and benefits you may be entitled to) If you want to chat more about the case, feel free to give me a call. I've been handling WC cases in Florida since 1994.
I too agree with my old friend Mr. Solt's answer. You should definitely return to your physiatrist and have them provide an opinion as to whether they believe you have reached MMI. You should also contact an attorney, as there are many aspects of your case to be explored. I would also question the accuracy of the impairment rating, as 5% seems rather low given your description of your injuries.
There are many issues that need to be explored. First, what level of functioning are you at? That could result in the filing of a claim for permanent total disability and social security disability. Your age and education level need to be identified as those items may factor into whether you will qualify for SSDI. A 5% impairment rating is low and that too might need to be examined. You need to be at overall maximum medical improvement before you reach the next critical juncture of your case. Overall MMI refers to being at MMI with respect to your mental and physical conditions. I don't know if you are at MMI psychiatrically yet. Without question the insurance company has set a reserve on your case and will be looking to settle it down the road. Don't go it alone. The adjuster will make you an offer that is low trying to convince you that is all she will give you and hiring a lawyer will be a waste of time. That happened to one of my clients. She called me anyway. Needless to say we doubled the offer made by the adjuster. I handle cases all over the state of Florida. I would be happy to consult with you if you like.
Chadwick J. Lawrence, Esq. Orlando, Stuart and Tampa Av rated by Martindale-Hubble, Superb AVVO www.thelawrencelawfirm.com
An attorney experienced in Florida WC is essential and you should not delay in finding one. The attorneys who answered this question should be your first conversation. I notice you indicate you have a winging scapula which means you likely have involvement and injury of the long thoracic nerve. There are surgeons who can correct a winging scapula with a procedure called split pectoralis major tendon transfer. Perhaps one of these attorneys could help you get more treatment that would improve your function and ability to use the shoulder.
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