Q: I was injured in 2018. Tore my gastrocnemius and soleus muscle in my calf, as well as nerve and vein injury.
Was told I had permanent nerve damage. Muscle re-tore at work in 2019. Last spring (21)Was told nothing can be done. I have received no reports on medical closure, but just got a check of $19,650. The statement stated 20% for 45 weeks for partial permanent disability. This does not sound correct to me, is there anything I can do? How do I obtain the reports?I do not believe they considered the nerve damage or the fact I have been in constant pain since 2018. I limp when I walk and cannot perform at the level I did.
A: I'm sorry to hear that you got hurt at work, and even more sorry that it's a permanent injury. From your description, it sounds like you have at least one accepted workers' compensation claim. Work comp claims typically involve three kinds of benefits (think of it as three buckets of money - no more no less) unless someone is "catastrophically" injured. You can't get punitive damages or "pain and suffering" in the no-fault work comp system. Only these three buckets. (1) wage replacement, (2) medical care, and (3) permanent partial disability benefits (or "PPD"). It sounds like the insurer paid out the PPD recently based on the doctor's 20% impairment rating. The authorized doctor should have done an impairment evaluation based on the AMA's 5th Ed. Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Doctors may disagree about the % of your impairment. So a good lawyer might convince your doctor that your impairment is actually higher. Once that money is paid out, the remaining value of your case is based on the first two buckets of money. So the duration of time that you are likely to remain out of work, and the medical care that you are likely to need in the future, dictate your settlement value. If you have not consulted an attorney yet, you definitely should. A good attorney can maximize your settlement, and without an attorney, there are lots of dirty tricks that a clever adjuster can play in order to minimize your payout.
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