Worker’s Compensation?

Shortly after getting the results back from the testing of my office, I decided that I should file for worker’s compensation for all the time I had missed from work, reinstatement of my comp time I had used when my sick leave was exhausted and help with my medical bills.  I met with the head of our Human Resources Department who told me that the district was not liable for my illness because of a sensitivity to mold.  I began making phone calls and found out that it was not his decision;  anyone has the right to file.  I filed in September or October 2000 and met with the district’s worker’s compensation doctor in December.  To me the appointment was a joke and I wasn’t surprised that in January I had been denied.

I met with the first attorney shortly after my denial.  The attorney told me that it would cost more to take on my case than he thought I would get.  My husband and I went home defeated.  I thought well maybe things would turn around and I would just get well and I wouldn’t need to file an appeal.

In the fall of 2001 my time was running out to file my appeal.  I had contacted several attorneys and their response was that they just didn’t understand mold.  If I had some tangible injury such as a broken back, loss of limb, they might be able to help me.

In the meantime I was getting sicker and sicker.  I filed the appeal on my own and went to court.  The judge had sympathy on me and gave me 90 days to find an attorney.  I kept up my search and found a wonderful man to represent me.  In January 2001 I told my doctor that I had found an attorney.  His response, I found you a doctor.  The doctor was out-of-state.

What I discovered is that the fight for worker’s compensation is a long and very hard fight.  You need a very good attorney who believes in you and your injury and is willing to fight to the death on your behalf. I found such an attorney.  If you are fighting the battle, don’t give up.  Keep searching for an attorney that is truly on your side.  If he doesn’t understand and isn’t willing to learn then move on.

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2 responses to “Worker’s Compensation?

  1. A W/C (work comp) case can not only be long and hard, it can cost you everything if you do not get a good lawyer who is willing to fight to the death on your behalf as Kathy has stated here in her blog.

    Due to the fact that there had not been more than about 6 toxic mold W/C cases in my state ever heard in Arbitrarion, added to the fact that they did not settle for very high amounts, finding a good W/C lawyer willing to fight to the death on mine and 3 other co-worker’s behalf did not happen.

    We were fortunate to find any lawyer willing to take our case and in fact were turned down by another law firm first that literally laughed us out of his office, and called me a nut case. In light of this, we had to accept less than what was needed in our choice of a lawyer.

    Our case was very good, we had outstanding evidence, there were 4 out of 9 total employees sick… which is a little less than 50% of the workforce…very good numbers in a W/C case…we had the best expert witnesses….Dr. William Croft, and his friend Henry Zat evironmental hygenist. But without that will to fight for you now matter what in your lawyer….which in our case was due to the low settlement figure of the other mold cases heard in our state…….after 3 years we only got exactly 7/8 of one year of our wages…..which was half of what the other 6 cases settled for. And not even enough to pay for medical treatment to begin for any of us, much less to pay to complete it. We also never got a penny of TTD. We lost our jobs and 3 of us were denied unemployment.

    What we did not have was a lawyer that understood toxic mold cases, nor was she interested in learning. I did all the research, all the evidence gathering, all the searching for medical help, etc…for her and my 3 co-workers. But without Kathy’s help, I would have been lost, as I was totally ignorant of what was needed when my fight with W/C began! Kathy was an outstanding friend to me through our 3 year fight!

    In order to fight this case for 3 years, my husband and I lost everything we owned, and ended up homeless after he also got laid off a year after my exposure….my lawyer watched all of this happen to us and still did not fight to the death for us. Her efforts were based on what the other cases had settled for. She kept telling us that we were not going to get much….she was right.

    Please do not misunderstand, I am NOT saying that I do not agree with Kathy’s advice….I ABSOLUTELY agree with her, find a lawyer that is willing to fight to the death for you…..because if you don’t you may end up like I did losing all you own because your lawyer is not committed to you personally but instead committed to what they think they can earn off of your case.

    • Ten years after my initial appeal filing, I am still battling over medical care. I know how hard you fought and how much research you did for your case. It is so hard to find anyone who believes mold can make us sick and cause life long medical issues. I am so sorry that your battle ended the way it did.

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