My Personal Experience with the New York State Worker’s Compensation System

By Not Without a Fight

I was injured at work and eventually had to quit my job due to my inability to continue working at my profession and perform any significant similar type work. I had taken a week off previously because I knew something was wrong and I was in constant pain and getting no circulation in my legs. When speaking to the owner about this I had mentioned that one of the foremen was becoming predatory and was exercising bully type behavior seeing my weakened physical and mental condition. After I returned to work the treatment intensified and when in the building trades this is considered treason and I found myself being sanctioned by the other foremen and company workers. They used me to do all the hard labor to make my life miserable to get revenge for ratting the one foreman out. Soon I was doing most of the debris removal, sanding and floor scraping. My last day I went to work I felt so frozen and fell on the ice going in and smashed my face and decided I had been through enough. Went home in effect to die and did not return any calls. Laid in bed mostly the first couple months and my movements were very slow and painful. Managed to go to the bathroom and shower and that was about it. My breathing was very shallow and slow it seemed like I could drift off into death quite easily.

According to my doctor’s, I have heart failure, hepatitis C, and edema with numbness, itching, and scarring on my legs which prevents me from standing for significant amounts of time without pain and suffering. An ongoing back injury has been following me over the years with times when I could not get out of bed, walk, crawl, and sometimes required help getting dressed I require long rest periods between activities. Some days I do not get up and spend days in bed to recover from previous day’s activities. My breathing becomes labored with any form of exertions which for most normal people are minor tasks. I lay under a heat lamp most days with my legs elevated to reduce the swelling.

Had one hearing with workman’s comp and the case was refused on the original basis that use of stilts was not significant or recent enough to be a basis for proving a cause and effect relationship known as in legal terms as causation. Currently I’m resubmitted a modified claim that extensive use of ladders and standing in awkward positions was more recent to establish a valid case for causation. There seems to be a difference between medical prognosis and legal grounds for winning a workman’s comp case.

In my opinion, the insurance companies throw obstacles in your way to make your case harder to prove so that you give in, give up, give out, or die before getting any help. I have talked to several people going though similar hardships with the system and have had to wait several years with no improvement and medical treatments that did more harm than good and added to the disability,

Now I have an appointment with my attorney to find out what the next step is now that my medical data has been updated. Social services is also demanding an update or cut off my services. My credit cards are sustaining me for now but soon that resource will be exhausted. My life is changed forever and probably will never recover or work again in any reasonable capacity.

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