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
YOU WILL WANT TO PRINT THIS!!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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