September 13th, 2007, 10:36 AM
Workers comp and retraining????
I hurt my back May 8 2006 and I just had a L4-l5,L5-S1 fusion. My doc said I would only be able to lift 35# from now on. I had worker construction since I was out of school. When the housing business got slow I was out of work for almost a year and I got a job at a lumber yard. I was cutting custom beams when I picked up one end and heard a pop, these beams weight about 500lbs. I tried to keep working as the doctor gave me 5-10lbs. restrictions and my manager still had me cutting the beams and loading trucks with no help. If I would have help in the first place I would have went through this. I feel alot better after surgury and I am only about 5 weeks post op. I am worried about what kind of job I am going to have the rest of my life. I hope Workers Comp. will give me training to find something I can do. Has anyone else on her been through this. I have no college education just a high school diploma. Never done anything but the construction field and the said NO MORE or I would be back getting the next levels fused. I have a wife and 3 kids and worried.
September 13th, 2007, 01:50 PM
I am sure you are already telling yourself that maybe you should have gone to college, etc., so none of that from me. With a wife and three kids, you are probably already spending too much time worrying. So here's a few thoughts that may help out.
If your injury, in your own mind is because your employer screwed up (I think you said "If I had had help in the first place") you have the right to obtain a lawyer and sue them. You can at least discuss it with a Worker's Comp lawyer, and see if he thinks you have a case. It is usually free, and they get paid out of any settlement. Usually 1/3 of the cash.
Next, the Worker's Comp depending on your state, is a insurance company. Their object in life is to deny claims. Even if they talk about re-training, they will prefer to send you to "Motel Management School" or something that gets them off the hook really cheaply.
Now, if you are not the scholarly type, but want to get into something less physical, consider going to a Computer trade school. 18 months to 2 years, and you are working again. Choose a field wisely. A fellow I know, wnet to such a school, and ended up being a teacher there. Doing very well.
Sometimes it takes HAVING a lawyer (even if you don't sue) to enforce getting proper training.
The idea here is to NOT let THEM decide what they will re-train you in, but to strongly require training in a field of your own choice.
One thing they can hold you up on: They are NOT required to train you in anything that will pay MORE, they only have to get you back to where you were (financially) before you were injured. But that doesn't mean you can't be creative. For instance the training might be the same pay at entry level, but have a far better future, and a lot higher top-out.
A friend of mine was a lumber stacker at a local mill. The mill closed down, and he was one of three workers who chose to re-train using a Federal grant. The other guys moved away, and worked in the same field until layed off again, and were not eligible for assistance. He went back to college, finished a BS in health, and got into Nursing school. He is now the night charge nurse at the local hospital.
Sometimes an event like this, can be a wake up, and ingnite a real sea-change in our lives.
You have at least a familiarity with the internet, and can run your computer. Perhaps now is the time to start perusing the career fields that interest you, given your physical limitations, and see where it takes you.
Consider and give great weight to the opinions of your closest counsilor, your wife.
Good luck Bro. Don't despair. You can do this.
Last edited by hankpac; September 13th, 2007 at 01:57 PM.
September 13th, 2007, 03:05 PM
I have a lawyer. I went into it without one just wanting my back fixed so I could go back to work. Even tried the work conditioning before my surgury and couldn't get through it. I thought about the computer training. Yes, I wish I had went to college. The reason I got the lawyer was the employer tried to fight me on it. The bad thing about it is I really like the owner he gave me a job when I needed it and said he would take me back if I could lift 60lbs. But I won't be able to. I will find something. But I had a co-worker that the owner would send out to mow his rentals instead of helping me and he will testify to that. Never had anyone to help even after I was hurt. The manager sent me out to get 30 sheets of 7/16's osb and when I went around the turn about half slipped off and the owner and the other co-worker both watch me pick them up when I was on restriction and never offered to help. I would come home from work and sit all night cause it hurt to move. And the lawyer did take it on 1/3's
September 13th, 2007, 04:12 PM
Have you applied for Social Security Dissability? You are elgible for it after you have been out of work for 12 months due to an injury or illness, plus they will help you with retraining also. If you hav'nt done so, go and do it. Usually Workers comp will also try to retrain you. Good luck.
Originally Posted by Byrd
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September 13th, 2007, 05:25 PM
No quite 100% correct. You only qualify if your injury keeps you from working a job that can earn more than $800 dollars a month for longer than 12 months or ends in death. If you have the capacity to work ANY job that can earn minimum wage and do it for 40 hours a week then you will not qualify. Disability will check your medical records and work history and make a vocational profile according to your age and determine if you are able to return to any type of job you performed in the last 10-15 years or determine if you have the capacity to return to work in a different job with your restrictions. If it is determined that you are able to return to other types of work and your claim for disability payments is denied, then your retraining is on you. Only people that are on disability already can qualify to get training paid for by Social Security disability, but you may have another program available in your area. Hope this helps and by all means this is not to discourage you from applying if you feel that you qualify, just clarifying for you what you should expect.
Originally Posted by dodgensince74
September 13th, 2007, 06:49 PM
really not looking for disability I want to work. thanks for the advice. I just like to work, I miss getting up in the morning and bring home a paycheck every friday. I was also thinking of lumber traveling sales. I will fine something, I just can't stand staying at home much more.
Last edited by Byrd; September 13th, 2007 at 06:59 PM.
September 15th, 2007, 01:03 AM
Workers Comp laws vary widely by State. I broke my back in 90 and 93, both times at work. Look into your state vocational rehab programs. You may get school paid for.
It does get better. Look at this as a chance to find out what you're made of. I'm sure if you give it a chance you'll be pleasantly suprised.
Take Care, Tom
September 15th, 2007, 01:01 PM
Had a bad back injury in 02, surgery shortly after, now suffer with chronic pain, both muscoskeletal and neuropathic, with extra nerve pain and damage to boot. Still walking, trying to beat the injury with activity within reason, and making sure my diet and medication is monitored daily.
I agree with the lawyer thing. I got one shortly after my injury, because the workers comp insurance was giving me the runaround, yet in the meantime I was still working, with major restrictions, and didn't know what I was entitled for. Long story short, I got my settlement, which is never enough, and found out my rights, as you should too.
On a daily basis, it is still a learning experience, how to cope with the chronic pain, relearning how to do things properly with the back, and taking it slower than I did.
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