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Slip/Fall due to unsafe working conditions

Discussion in 'Workers Compensation' started by Brian E., Sep 14, 2020.

  1. Brian E.

    Brian E. Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello,

    The accident happened at an assignment at a major auto manufacturing company through the temp. agency I am working for. Basically, due to unsafe working conditions, I slipped and fell forward, and my hand took the brunt of the fall. A little backstory, the area where I fell is actually underneath a conveyor where cars pass by and 2 workers spray rustproofing in various parts of the car frame. Due to the shoddy spray guns they use, there is a whole lot of overspray that lands on the flooring, which I believe is concrete underneath, but is covered by what I believe to be sort of like black tar paper that is put on roofs. This spray is extremely slippery, and even though I was moving at a slow pace (nothing to hold on to while walking, as well as no warning signs), I still slipped and fell (I was wearing a pair of black leather shoes with what I thought to be slip-proof (yea, right), not sneakers or anything.) There was one worker that witnessed the fall and we both filled out an accident report.

    I was sent to the local ER about 1.5 hours after the accident (I work 3rd shift and it happened in the morning right before I was to get off work). My hand was swollen about 1.5-2x its normal size. To sum it up, they took x-rays, gave me ibuprofin 800mg and sent me on my way. I didn't find out till 2-3 days later that they had released me back to work for that same night. I was not given a brace or anything. I was told by the temp agency's rep on site that I would have to see one of their doctors before going back to work. This happened on Saturday. I was also told that if I were to follow up with any sort of doctor, that any sort of expenses would come out of my pocket. These statements made to me were debunked that Monday when I was finally able to talk to the local manager of the temp agency. They sent me to see one of their doctors at a family medicine clinic (well, a nurse practitioner) whom ordered a brace, finally, and more x-rays. I questioned the fact that she sent in a CNA to give me a form to sign saying that I was released to work, simply because I hadn't even had the x-rays taken let alone gotten the results from them. I never got a straight answer before leaving the office.

    I went to the place they sent me to in order to get a brace, and was told that they didn't have a contract with the insurance company the temp agency uses for workmans comp claims, and was sent on my way. I was finally able to get in contact again with the temp agency mgr (which was 3 days later, my calls went either unanswered, or I was able to talk to someone that said they were going to give her a message to call me back, but she never did. At one point I had to wait for 20 rings before someone answered. They have no voicemail setup for some reason.) And even when I told her I needed to know where to go for the brace and additional x-rays, she said she would get in touch with the insurance carrier and get back to me. This was last week. To this day I haven't heard back from her.

    I have seen a total of 4 medical professionals (2 ER visits - 1 initial after the accident, 1 a week later because the pain and swelling weren't getting better, but worse, 1 NP at the clinic the workmans comp insurance company has a contract with, and 1 urgent care visit just this past Saturday in order to get some relief from the pain. I was given 2 injections at the urgent care center. 1 for pain (which lasted 36 hours) and the other one was a steroid for the swelling.

    Fast forward to this past Saturday:

    Some 13 days later, I get a letter in the mail from a workmans comp adjuster wanting me to give them names and contact information of EVERY doctor that I've seen in the past TEN YEARS. How is this legal? I feel they're fishing for a pre-existing condition when in fact there are none. I have NEVER injured/had any problems with my hands. Isn't this type of inquiry a violation of HIPPA laws?

    I may have a fracture that hadn't shown up on x-rays. I found out on my own that swelling can mask these on x-rays, and even without swelling, x-rays don't show everything in all cases. I'm going to an orthopedic doctor today and will press the issue for a MRI to be taken. I have had tendinitis in my knee as well as elbow (not the same side as my hand injury) in my past, and this pain feels NOTHING like what tendinitis feels like.

    Thanks for reading my rambles, I just wanted to make sure I covered everything. Any adivice/help would be greatly appreciated!!!!!

    Brian

    PS: I've attached a pic that I took the day after the injury just so you can see the extent of the swelling and to know that I'm not exaggerating my claim.
    my poor hand.jpg
     
  2. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I don't really understand the "how" question. In the United States, everything is legal which is not made expressly illegal by some law, so the request is legal because no law prohibits the making of such a request.*

    * - In fact, there are almost no laws that make it illegal simply to request something from someone else. There are laws that prohibit the solicitation of sex for money and the solicitation of the commission of some crimes, but that's about it.

    If, in fact, "there are none," then what's the issue? And do you really expect folks not to be thorough in their investigation?

    HIPAA, not HIPPA, and no.

    Just FYI, virtually none of the detail (including the picture) was necessary to answer the questions asked.
     
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Yes, there is a very simple, economical solution.

    Find yourself an AL attorney specializing in "workers compensation" cases.
    the injury occurs), the attorney will ensure that ALL of your rights are protected, medical bills are paid, and that allows YOU to focus on healing!
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    If your hand is still swollen this long after the injury I agree you likely have a fracture. If the swelling is gone but pain remains it could just be bruising.
    Whatever you choose to do in seeking medical attention, be sure that it is covered before you get the treatment. The temp agency should be able to give you information regarding the extent of your coverage.
     
  5. Brian E.

    Brian E. Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Well, I'm sorry for not knowing the law, or the correct spelling of HIPAA, etc. And how am I supposed to know that I didn't need to explain what happened in detail to get accurate responses? This is the first time I've had an injury such as this. It's not like I'm asking for legal advice/suggestions on a daily basis.

    Thanks for your input, tho.
     
  6. Brian E.

    Brian E. Law Topic Starter New Member

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    That's the problem, they're ignoring me, and not returning my calls at this point. I don't even know if I still have a job to go back to. (Probably not at this point, but eh). I'm at the point of putting it through on my insurance, then contacting my insurance company and will let THEM fight to get reimbursed. I'm totally convinced that the doctors that they are sending me to do not have my best interest in mind, and are simply trying to force me back to work without knowing the extent of my injury.
     
  7. Brian E.

    Brian E. Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I've tried to find a workman's comp lawyer to take this small of a case, but am having problems. It seems every WC lawyer around my area is only interested in BIG $ settlements ($1M+) and not in it for the chump change. I've called 3 so far, and have been told a variety of reasons they wouldn't take my case, which have included that I wasn't injured by machinery, etc.

    I found this forum via Google and thought it'd be of help to get a lead for a lawyer. Was I wrong?
     
  8. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    This forum does not provide referrals, but you go to Find a Lawyer in the Attorney Directory | TheLaw.com (listed below as "Find a Lawyer") or the Alabama State Bar for possible referrals or assistance.
     
    justblue and Brian E. like this.
  9. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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  10. Brian E.

    Brian E. Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes, and for referrals, they want a fee. I've already looked into that.
     
  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Hang in there, buddy.

    Maybe you should try looking for one in nearby rural county, or smaller town/village in your county.

    Regardless of the circumstances of your workers' compensation claim, you are entitled by state law to obtain an attorney.

    Please, keep digging, don't allow the ghouls to run you off.

    There are plenty lawyers who would take your case, just keep searching and dialing.

    This website below is a trusted referral/ranking source, see if you can find yourself a diamond in the rough:

    Alabama Workers' Compensation Lawyers - Compare Top Workers' Compensation Attorneys in Alabama - Justia

    This site might be useful, take a look:

    How to File an Alabama Workers’ Compensation Claim

    This site offers information on lawyer referrals:

    https://www.avvo.com/workers-compensation-lawyer/al.html

    Happy and successful hunting, but most of all, make sure you get the medical care you need to get better.
     
  12. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    When you contacted OSHA and reported the alleged unsafe work conditions, what did they say?

    (And no, as a matter of fact, workers comp situations are expressly exempt from HIPAA, but conducting a through investigation would not be a HIPAA violation anyway.)
     
    hrforme likes this.
  13. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    HIPAA is a common, but easily avoidable typo, and there's no need to apologize for either.

    I don't recall saying that you were supposed to know that. That's why I started the sentence with, "Just FYI."

    The message boards are not a place where you can get a lead for a lawyer, but there is a "Find a Lawyer" link at the bottom of the page.
     
  14. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Just curious... Have you started a workers comp claim? If not, you should probably do so.
    Before you count on your own insurance to do as you propose you had best discuss with them what they will and will not do.
     
    army judge likes this.
  15. welkin

    welkin Member

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    No doubt you're having trouble finding an attorney for a small case because when you search for a WC attorney all you get is the cream of the crop. The big law firms mining for lucrative cases.

    Look for small law firm.
     
  16. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Only if you are VERY bad at searching.

    If you have to escalate a case to the point you get a lawyer the fees charged by the lawyer are usually included in the settlement. And in my experience, small cases end paying something approaching reasonable hourly fees.
     
  17. welkin

    welkin Member

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    I think you missed the point of my post. Large law firms mine for big payout cases. They are not interested in taking cases that don't have big payouts whether or not legal fees are paid by the defendant. They simply don't take them.
     
  18. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    I've seen large law firms take smaller WC cases simply because they have junior associates to work them.

    But I think you missed the main point of my post. It isn't hard to find a WC case for any size case via Google or any other search engine. There are firms out there, large and small, that make a living on the things.
     

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