Q: February 2016 I was hurt at work, my injury was herniated disc (L4,L5) I have had two lumber surgeries.
I have completed a lot of physical therapy. I am now doing pain management, which I may have to do for the remainder of my life. I have completed an FCE, and it said that I could not return to my pre-injury position. And was placed in vocational services. I have however found another job within my physical limitations. My question is moving forward, how would this affect my trying to settle my WC case with a full and final settlement?
There is much more information required to answer this question. For example: your average weekly wage; the new job's pay and any temporary partial benefits due; your impairment rating (if any, since you do not mention whether there is any residual leg disability); the future cost of pain management and whether the panel physician will confirm that it is necessary and related to the work injury; your prior medical history; etc.
If you do not already have counsel, it would be advisable to retain an attorney to properly evaluate your case and what else is needed for settlement prior to having discussions with an adjuster, whose only agenda is closing out the claim for as small a sum as possible.
You had a serious injury. You indicate you will have pain for the rest of your life. If you have an award, then you have lifetime medical coverage for this injury. You indicated you completed an FCE. This probably gave you permanent work restrictions. You are currently being job placed by the insurance company; however, you indicate you have found a job on your own and you wonder what impact this will have on a settlement.
The insurance company looks at exposure. What will it have to pay you in compensation and what will it have to pay you for future medical expenses. If you have a "new light duty job" then the insurer may not have to pay any more compensation or it will have to pay less in compensation if you are not making your pre-injury salary. Thus, the new job unfortunately will cause the value of any settlement to be reduced because now the insurance company has less exposure.
I am basing this opinion on representing claimants with serious injuries for 35 years in the state of Virginia. You need to obtain legal advice quickly before you mess up your case. Many attorneys (who only specialize in workers compensation) like me will provide you a free consultation.
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