Injured worker fights to get compensation claim paid

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by Janet Roach

WVEC.com

Posted on November 8, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 2:38 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH --  Thomas Daigle wants to work, but a work-related injury is keeping him at home.  He's not making any money and can't pay his bills.

"I've never been late on child support, which is due. I've never been late on any of my payments and now I'm late on everything," he says.

In February, Daigle tore his left rotator cuff on the job at Dougherty Equipment in Chesapeake.  He filed a workers' compensation claim and was paid for several months until he returned to work - on light duty -  in June.

One day in July, after returning home from work, he felt his arm pop.  His rotator cuff was injured again.

A doctor's note described the problem as a "re-tear."  But that's not how the insurance company,  that would pay the workers' comp claim sees it.

So far, Creative Risk Solutions has denied his claim.

Daigle filed a claim with his employer's disability insurer but was told it was a workers' comp issue.

And because the company doesn't want to risk him getting hurt again, Daigle can't work.

"I'm still under doctor's care. I'm still going to therapy. How is it that you can't cover it?" he wonders.

Attorney Barry Rowell primarily represents clients with workers' compensation claims and says the system can be very unforgiving. He recommends workers follow a few critical steps if they get hurt on the job.

"Make sure they tell their employer about the injury promptly. Make sure they seek medical attention right away and tell their doctor how the injury occurred," he stresses.

When the 13News Troubleshooters contacted Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission, Executive Director John Budesky said Daigle has one more chance to get his claim approved and that he would get an appeals hearing soon.

So far, a date has not been set.

"There's certainly a due process that affords an injured worker who's injured through no fault of their own an opportunity to have their case heard," Budesky states.

 

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