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    Re: help needed!!!!!!! Time may be running out!!!!

    Posted by Tracey on 6/21/06

    On 5/10/06, Wendi Whitzell wrote:
    > I need so much help. I am not sure where to start. In 1974
    > my father was exposed to toxic chemical solvents that he
    > worked with with his bare hands while working as a
    > civilian on a military instalation. A list was formed and
    > co workers became sick with various forms of cancer. As
    > soon as their sickness was documented, then they where
    > assisted in filing for federal workman's compesation. My
    > father was just waiting for cancer to strike. Little did
    > he know that he had been injured in other ways. It wasn't
    > until 1981 when he he wAS FINALLY and successfully
    > diagnosed with inorganic damage to his brain and
    > chromosomes due to exposure to those very chemicals.
    > Unfortunately he could not find anyone to assist him with
    > filing his claim. In fact he did not receive any of the
    > assistence his coworkers received. Instead he was told
    > that his statute of limitation Had ran out and was denied.
    > He did finally find an attorney (a defence attorney) that
    > took his case. In my opinion, it was like a family
    > practice doctor trying to cure cancer. He has been half
    > heartedly keeping my father at bay by throwing him a bone
    > ever now and again. My father is in very poor health. This
    > needs to be resolved NOW! I just don't know where to turn.
    > I just know I need for him to see victory before he dies.
    > Please, Can Anyone Help! Please respond soon. Wendi in
    > Utah

    There is no way you will remember it all.

    Was this claim filed in Utah through their workers compensation?

    Here are the issues you are looking at from what I know in
    working with BWC in Ohio, it may be different in Utah, but
    this may help.

    First of all you need to know that I am not an attorney.
    So this is only coming from someone who has worked in
    processing workers compensation claims and I am knowledgeable
    about what will cause problems for the case to be allowed or
    denied in Ohio.

    Since I am no longer employed by the BWC I can at least offer
    some suggestions for you, but you will have to decide how to

    Also you must remember that I am giving my opinion based on my
    knowledge of workers compensation in ohio and the Ohio revised

    Additional information is needed, but I will just give you
    some suggestion from what I have gleemed from your circumstance.

    When he filed his original claim, was it approved with a
    diagnosis supporting that he was exposed to chemicals while
    perfoming his duties that caused an injury?

    Many times people get frustrated or are ill and depressed and
    overwhelmed and let the timelines go by.

    You needed to find an attorney that specialized in workers
    compensation in your area so that was part of the problem.

    (But only after you do the medical portion)

    I assume your father is still seeking medical attention correct?

    The issue of the statute of limitations expiring can be dealt
    with if you can provide medical documentation from a physician
    who can document and prove that the cancer is a direct result
    of the exposer in 1974. This will not be easy but if it is a
    good claim it can be supported.

    Here are the issues you are looking at and why you may find it
    difficult to find an attorney to represent you, if you supply
    an attorney with the documentation to support your claim you
    may have a better chance of getting some help.

    However, you can do most, if not all of this yourself.

    Go get a copy of the Revised Code for Utah. You may be able
    to find one online or at the library.

    It will be useful for you when you are preparing your
    presentation to the claims department, this is to be done
    after you find a doctor that can support that the cancer is
    actually caused by the original injury. (It will be handy when
    filing appeals to get your claim re opened, specifically
    initializing the claim again with new medical documentation)

    Unfortunately, considering your father's age this may be
    difficult. But if he did not smoke, if cancer is not
    prominant in your family and depending on the type of cancer
    that was found perhaps a medical doctor will be able to
    diagnose from cell structure and history that it was actually
    attributed to the original injury.

    If you can also find the cases of the co workers who received
    assistance who had the same exposure and look at their claims
    you may find that they followed up on the claim process and
    the medical information and that is why their claims were

    (You will have to contact them personally and appeal to their
    heart to share this information to you. In Ohio BWC claims are
    not a matter of public record and you have to be a party to
    the case or an attorney or doctor to have access to the
    records, but they can get a copy of the file since they are
    the IW and then they can show it to you.

    Anyone can ask for a copy of their own BWC case file at any
    time. Hopefully it has not been destroyed or they can
    remember the actual diagnosis made or find the doctor who
    treated them, you could actually have them get this
    information from their private medical records, but again it's
    personal and private and they would need to be willing to help
    you with this part of the tasks ahead of you.

    Be kind to the other IW's when asking for this, just get the
    basic information from them unless they offer more or want to
    talk, be kind, calm and compassionate and consider their
    privacy, it's very important since you would be asking for
    their help in just telling you what their original diagnosis
    was and which doctor did they go to.

    If they cannot be located or will not help, take a deep
    breath and keep digging for the medical to support your
    fathers condition by using what resources you have, which is
    your father and his condition right now and the past medical
    he received.

    You should also consider paying for any copies of others
    medical files and for their time and gas and offer them a
    generous amount because you are asking for them to open up
    emotional wounds for them also.

    If you offer to compensate them for their time and expenses
    you will also show that you are serious about doing this and
    everyone involved is respected and compensated.

    Also, keep track of all your expenses including mileage in a
    log while you do this, you can add it to your claim with the
    attorney if you have a case. Especially if you find that it
    was a clerical error and nothing more that caused your fathers
    claim to be denied or not processed as the others claims who
    were approved.

    Did your father get fired from his positon with the company?

    If not good, if so was it after he filed a claim? Or was it
    years later?

    If he was terminated was he terminated because he violated
    any safety issues that would have caused him to be exposed to
    the chemicals? This is all information you are going to have
    to have honest answers about, because it does factor into the
    determination of the claim process.

    You can open a new claim if you have a new doctor diagnose the
    cancer as definately being caused by organic exposure, you
    will then have a open claim with the workers compensation

    Once the claim is open then it is very important to meet all
    the deadlines, if they deny the claim, you must file an appeal
    each time and provide your supporting information.

    From my experiece with the BWC they truly are there to help
    the IW if it is a legit claim.

    Unfortunately many people abuse the system and it gives the
    BWC a bad rep. because people complain when their non work
    related claims are denied or they could not support the claim
    they filed. And sometimes people give up and don't ask
    questions or fill out the forms or meet timelines and the
    claim is denied.

    This happens quite a bit, the BWC cannot fill out the claim
    for you they only work with what is supplied to them and they
    do investigate the injury with the employer and verify the
    medical to see if it supports the injury, if it is a good
    claim and the medical is in and the employer provided their
    information and supplies the payroll information to the BWC
    then the claim is usually processed smoothly.

    You need to also understand that there is a lot of
    paperwork, reviewing of records and time involved in each
    claim, they are very busy so if all the information is not
    provided they will attempt to locate it but they can only ask
    the IW so many times to contact them or help supply the
    medical or to sign a waiver, that is why there are timelines
    in place.

    Plus to insure prompt attention. I know in the state of Ohio
    the Claims Rep has 28 days from the time the new claim is
    filed to gather all of the information. So if you have
    medical in your hand and can supply it to the BWC when you
    file the claim you will get better help in getting this taken
    care of.

    Keep in touch with your claims rep and ask her what else she
    is waiting on and what does she need and if you can provide
    her with what she needs for example making a phone call to a
    doctors receptionist and asking her to please fax over the
    medical that the claim rep is waiting on, or maybe even
    keeping a closer eye when there are problems, if you can do
    the leg work you will help your rep.

    You must also establish a relationship with your claims rep.
    if they are not assisting you in telling you exactly what
    documentation you need then ask to speak to a supervisor. Be
    nice to them you will get farther, nice but firm, if your
    wishy washy you may not get taken care of right away.

    Be considerate and acknowledge the timelines or ask what they
    are and ask them if you will get a follow up call, or tell
    them you will give them a follow up call in a day or so to
    check on what ever the hold up is and do the follow up call...
    you need to keep in close respectful contact, but if you ever
    feel like your rep is not actually doing a decent job or
    making an effort to follow through then you can ask for the
    supervisor and perhaps ask for someone else you are more
    suited to work with.

    Don't call them constantly and when you do call be direct and
    to the point ask your question, wait for the answer, ask for
    further claification if you need it, but it's best not to go
    into a long emotional tirade until you get to know the person
    and then just let them ask along the way if they are interested.

    You will be wasting precious time crying and moaning instead
    of finding out what to do next. You spent many hours already
    moaning, now it's time to fix the problem if it's a good case
    and if it's possible to do so.

    They cannot give legal advice, but they can direct you through
    the process of what documents and forms need to be completed.
    They cannot complete them for you, but you should be able to
    find a rep who will help you fill them out. Actually if you
    are going to fill them out for your dad you need power of
    attorney, if not then he has to sign them and know what he is
    filling out. It's his claim not yours, that might be your
    first little hurdle after obtaining the medical.

    Ask the doctors office if they have power of attorney forms
    or check at the library and get a generic one and write in
    there that you have power of attorney to deal with all issues
    of his workers compensation claim (if he agress to this)
    including compensation issues, medical and claims processing
    and that he is giving the permission to the BWC to talk to you
    on the phone and correspond in writing.

    You can handwrite this on the form, both of you go to a
    notary, sign it get it notarized and send copies of it to
    everyone you will be talking to and keep a copy safe somewhere.

    If he doesn't agree to let you handle this then he will have
    to make all of these calls and you are going to have to help
    in keeping him focused on the task at hand, each step. He's
    ill and he's elderly and he will need help with this. He may
    give up first time he hears a negative answer, or what he
    percieves to be a blowoff, remember back in his day customer
    service people went the extra mile and people actually filled
    out forms and such, today it's not that way, it doesn't mean
    he won't get help but maybe not as he is used to and you will
    have to help him. Especially if you discover he dropped the
    ball on the paperwork and the process the first time through.

    Previous medical information is essential here. You must
    locate all of his medical records and supply a history of the
    diagnosis from the doctors supporting the injury.

    So here is a starting point for you. Get his medical
    documentation, find the diagnosis in 1984 that supports
    exposure to toxins. Get to a doctor and have a medical exam,
    ask the doctor to diagnose your father with an ICD code that
    supports exposure to the toxins. If it is legit they can do
    it, the only reason I am being specific about this has to do
    with the original claim and what the BWC will be looking for.

    Fill out another claim form and initiate a new claim

    and in your description be sure you put on there that the
    injury is a
    work related injury, the original diagnosis date of 1984 and
    the medical documentation that supports that this is a
    debilitating chronic disease that is a direct result of a work

    If you can get that documentation you are just beginning a
    long process that can be taken care of if you ask for help and
    can support the claim with medical documentation to support
    that the cancer is actually from the injury at work.

    Also I would try to find the other IW's and see what their
    diagnosis code or diagnosis was given to their claims.

    You may find that your fathers doctor listed a different
    diagnosis for his injury and that is why the claim was not
    followed up on.

    But don't bother looking for the others until you find a
    doctor who will support your claim at this point.

    If you can, then proceed to the next part of the information
    and investigation of the claim.

    If the first doctor can't support it, you can go to several
    doctors until you find one that will help you, just because
    the first doctor says no, go to at least three others to see
    if you get the same results.

    Also if you can find a doctor who specializes in workers
    compensation claims (if you call a workers comp law office
    they may be able to tell you which doctors work for the IW and
    which ones work for the employer, nothing wrong with that, we
    all have our own bias, but you would be better suited to find
    one that supports IW's positions and has been called in to BWC
    as a medical opinion for previous claims. The attorneys may
    not tell you personally who the doctors are, because of
    ethics, but if you call around you may find a receptionist who
    will give you some suggestions as to who you might call. You
    must not use the attorney as a referral to the doctor, but it
    doesn't hurt to ask around to other IW's who their doctor was
    and the experience they have working with BWC.

    Also if you father did not follow up on his medical treatment
    or visits this will be a problem. IW's many times do not
    follow up on the doctors visits.

    So take him to the doctor for a visit, get an official ICD
    diagnosis and explanation to support the exposure and go to
    the BWC (maybe you can do it online in your state) and file a
    new claim.

    Also this is important, when you open your new claim you must
    make it clear that this is an aggravation of a previous work
    related injury, that it is chronic and something that took
    time to develop.

    Also call your local bar association or look in the phone book
    for attorneys that actually only do workers compensation claims.

    They will review your case (it's best to have the medical in
    hand and a current diagnosis with you when you first see them)
    if they see that you are willing to provide the documentation
    they most likely will take your case and in Ohio the
    attorney's are taking about 35% of the settlement in the end.

    But you must understand that if they take your case on
    contingency basis (without you paying along the way) they will
    want to know they can truly win the case, which is where the
    medical comes in, also they will not be doing to much of the
    leg work to establish an original connection, you will have to
    do that, only because there are many claims available that
    will be easier to represent than this claim.

    Did you father ever take a settlement from the BWC?

    To close out his claim? If so, then you cannot do anything,
    because when you settle you are giving up your rights to any
    future claims or medical bills being paid.

    I hope this helps and isn't too overwhelming for you.

    So ask your father if there was ever a settlement. Did they
    ever give him a large check? You may not know about a
    settlement that he may have made hastily.

    Then find the medical for the 1984 diagnosis, and all medical
    since that time that supports the toxins.

    Find the original claim information from the 1974 claim and
    see what the diagnosis was and see if you can locate any of
    the other workers and ask them to help you with looking at
    their original diagnosis, perhaps they can provide you with
    some clues as to what happened.

    Unfortunately if all of this happened because your father did
    not follow up on the claim process it has caused problems for
    him now, which means he has to be willing to follow up on it now.

    Here is another opinion of mine, what is your motivation for
    helping him?

    Because he needs the help or because you would like to see
    if can get a settlement for you. I'm not judging you, I just
    want you to think about all the work and effort you are going
    to have to help him with through out this and if he is not
    committed to getting it done it could be difficult for you to
    encourage him to help you by providing you with all the
    information that you need.

    If he didn't follow through on it before will he do it now?

    It could just be his personality to avoid issues because of
    depression or anxiety and you need to understand all the
    dynamics behind this and be honest with yourself and do it
    from a point of love for your father and not from the greed
    portion of it.

    I'm sure there have been financial hardships and maybe there
    is now, but you need to be willing to have the time to invest
    in this from a position of you have the free time and you
    don't need the money. If you can't get there then this is
    going to be a huge burden for you emotionally and physically

    Plus people will be more willing to help you if you have a
    legit case and it's not about the money it's about helping
    your dad or making things whole.

    People are more likely to help calm non desperate sounding
    people, I'm not judging you, this was a lesson in I had to
    learn and I have found this to be true and more productive, to
    just be calm and if your right and true about it from a
    position of love then you will have the diligence and strength
    to make the next best decision, it will be important for you
    to keep a level head about this, it's a marathon, not a race....

    You may have a valid claim, you may not, his cancer could be
    from another source.

    Please don't take this as criticism or being unkind, it is
    from a non judgemental perspective and the fact that I have
    had to deal with this many times.

    Your motivation has got to be the fact that he was
    misdiagnosed, or the claim was not originally filed correctly,
    or your father did not follow up as he should and you may be
    angry about that but you have to figure out if he is up for
    going for it now from the perspective of correcting the issue,
    or are you scrambling because he is ill now?

    You have to consider this also. This may be stressful for
    him right now, if he is very ill or dying do you want to spend
    his last days harping on this?

    It all boils down to if you can provide the medical and get
    him to a doctor while he is still alive and support the
    diagnosis as a work related injury you will have the option of
    being able to file a death claim if his cancer caused his
    death (after you have initiated the new claim now while he is
    still living) and if you can prove that he got cancer from his

    See many things to consider, I'm in a rush so I hope I don't
    sound insensitive. I'm sorry for the pain you are going
    through and I am sure it is frustrating.

    Please get with your dad, see how much he is willing to go
    through to prove this.

    If he is okay with it and I would encourage him to at least
    get the medical to support it and to open a new claim, then
    that gives you something to work with if you feel you have the
    ability and strength to continue helping him with it.

    Once you have the medical consult an attorney. Find one who
    will take care of you and be honest about their ability to
    proceed with the case and don't be too upset if they are
    honest and say that it doesn't look good.

    You always have the option of trying to find an attoney who
    will help you. Everyone has different strengths and areas of

    I don't see this as a difficult case, time consuming and
    emotional yes, especially during a time when your father is
    ill and you are dealing with those issues, but it can be done
    but you just have to pray and ask for wisdom (it's important
    to know where your heart is when dealing with this stuff) and
    evaluate if you have the time and emotional strength to keep

    If you have true medical to support his condition and can
    prove it, actually if you have a second opinion to support it
    then you must proceed, but understand you will hit bumps along
    the way but you can do most of this yourself and if your
    father cooperates it may work out.

    It will take some time however, because there will be appeals
    filed and several orders written but each time you just have
    to educate yourself on what is the next step in the process.

    Befriend your claims rep, if they are not really knowledgeable
    as to find one who is more experienced or has a better fit
    with you.

    Good luck I hope this helps.


    P.S. if anyone reads this and has a position for me in your
    legal firm/Office/Corporation as a BWC consult/councelor
    contact me through this thread by posting a reply. I have a
    Psychology degree, speak fluent Japanese and have worked as a
    claims rep and Controller for a major automobile company. I
    can evaluate claims from the employer as well as the injured
    workers perspective.

    Posts on this thread, including this one

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