Karen, was a 35 year old wife and mother of three working in the factory. Karen was a dependable worker who always came to work on time and had not missed a day of work in 4 years. Unfortunately, Karen was lifting a heavy part at work when her back gave out. She ended up on the floor in severe pain. Karen immediately went to the medical office and reported that she had hurt her back at work. The medical personnel told her to go see her family doctor. Karen’s family doctor prescribed pain medications and excused her from work for the next week. However, Karen’s condition worsened and after only two days she was back seeing her family doctor. Her doctor ordered an MRI, which confirmed that Karen had suffered a herniated disc in her back. Karen was referred on to a surgeon for evaluation of the herniated disc. The surgeon told her that surgery was her best option as the disc would likely not heal on its own. Karen was devastated because she had never had surgery before and had always taken pride in her work.
While Karen had the surgery and made a good recovery, the doctor assigned her a 10% impairment rating and placed a permanent 30 pound lifting restriction on her. She was not able to return to her higher paying line job and had to take a lower paying job. She was satisfied with the 50 weeks of benefits they paid her but did not realize that she was entitled to much more compensation for her injuries.Thankfully, for Karen, one of her friends had previously been injured at his job, and we had handled his case for him. Karen came to see us, and we informed her that her case was worth much more than the 50 weeks of benefits she had been paid. She was entitled to industrial disability in which her impairment rating was only one of many factors. Karen eventually settled her case for more than twice as much as the insurance company had previously paid her. If Karen had not come to see us, she would have missed out on more than $50,000 in money owed to her.