Q: Can I add my previous work related injury to my other work related injury workers comp case?
I got hurt on the job by a freight cart tipping over on my ankle and foot. My manager sent me to the ER and documented the injury. Being I work graveyard and went to their clinic in the middle of the night, no one was there to X-Ray it. So the nurse gave me a boot for it and sent me on my way. I never put a claim in because the next day after my injury, my dad passed away and I was dealing with that at the time as well. Well about a year later I fall off of a ladder at work and hurt my back, I put in a claim for that, doctor have gave me MRI and discover I have 2 herniated discs in my lower back due to the fall. The insurance company is trying to settle and offered me 22,000 which I turned down because I feel that's not enough for me and my family until I am able to work again. Can I add the previous injury of my ankle to my case for my lower back? I believe it may have been fractured all this time and never healed correctly because when I walk on it, it swells up on me every single da
A: Since you did report the injury at the time of the fall, the employer should have provided you the claim form and process your injury claim.
We could try to add the injury claim with your back claim, and the settlement appears low when you report that you have two herniated discs. If surgery is indicated, then the settlement does not appear to be appropriate.
Louie Putters, Esq.
SF BAY AREA LAW
A: If it is the same employer and same carrier, you should be able to get a global settlement. However, if it is a different employer, or different carrier, then you will need to get everyone involved and this will take some time and expertise. I suggest you seek representation. The cost of an attorney will probably be offset by the added value you receive in the settlement.
A: NO. You don't 'ADD' one injury to a different injury. YOU CAN ADD body parts for one injury date. EACH DATE OF injury gets a separate state case number and is separated (unless and until there is some motion that a judge must hear them together). You write 'i never put in a claim' and a year passed, so you may be too late to pursue the ankle injury, as the Labor Code requires you give clear notice to the employer of any on-the-job injury within one year. I'm confused because this says you went to the ER, which is a hospital emergency room, where it WOULD HAVE been Xrayed, but then you write you went to a clinic and it was never xrayed. IF YOU can prove the employer provided treatment -- if you have writings that the clinic made an examination and ordered the xray -- then the Statute of Limitations isn't a problem. SIGN NOTHING on the back claim because there will be a release of any and all claims, and that would include the old ankle claim. HIRE AN ATTORNEY WHO JUST DOES WORKERS COMP because if you get a 'TV' lawyer where the non-lawyers handle the claims, you'll be disappointed. It sounds like you need a QME for the back because the offer is just based on a clinic hack finding almost no permanent disability on the spine...you need an attorney well-experienced with evaluating physicians in your area.
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