And Just Like That It’s Over -A Workmen’s Comp Nightmare!

1.616 days ago my husband fell at work. He slipped on an oil-water spill someone had left unattended. An accident at work! On the 6th of December 2018, a special kind of nightmare began, one nobody prepares you for, because somehow we all think we are covered by an insurance, known to all in the US as Workmen’s Compensation.

My husband hurt his shoulder when he fell, but he managed to get up. We wouldn’t know it for a long time, but he had torn three muscles in his right arm when he tried to ease the fall.

Biggest mistake!

Don’t ever get up when you get hurt at work. Make sure they call the ambulance and have the paramedics transport you to the next hospital. Insist on being carried away!

My husband got up and so instead of going to a hospital, he was asked to go to an Urgent Care close by, where he filled out an accident report. He had to take a drug test, which he passed. He was seen by a nurse practitioner -no doctor- and was then sent back home, without an x-ray, without an MRI but with a prescription for Prednisone (Steroids). He couldn’t lift up his right arm, he was in crucial pain. All of this got ignored.

He was excused from work for three days. He got some pain meds. The first night when he asked me to help him into bed, tears run down his cheeks and his face showed the pain he was in when he moved. He didn’t sleep at all! Neither did I.


He went back to work after three days. His right arm in a sling. He was then told that Workman’s Compensation Insurance had asked a lawyer to take over his case, which surprised us endlessly. Why?

When my husband came home and told me about it, we decided to get a lawyer as well. We didn’t know a Workmen’s Compensation lawyer. We went by reviews!

You got hurt at work! Why do you need a lawyer? It was even on camera.

Let the games begin!

The Workmen’s Comp insurance didn’t give the approval for an X-Ray but asked him to have physical therapy instead. (Quite idiotic without an x-ray confirming what kind of injury we were dealing with.)

After two months of crucial pain, there was a hearing in court, and the X-Ray got approved but it didn’t show too much. Another court hearing a month later where we asked for an allowance to get an MRI done -which was denied. We appealed, won, and finally, almost four months after his fall, my husband had an appointment for an MRI.

Four months of unnecessary misery.

By then the three torn muscles had started to deteriorate -muscles turn into fat when you can’t use them. We then went to court and asked for an allowance (that’s what it’s called when THEY do their job) for surgery.

Same routine! Hearing – We won! They appealed – We won again! Altogether it took three more months, then finally my husband was seen by an orthopedic surgeon, a specialist in shoulder replacement surgeries because now after all the time that has passed, his shoulder couldn’t be repaired anymore.

Hearings – Appeals – Fights for everything we thought were our rights.

Money, money, money!

At the moment my husband became a Workmen’s Compensation claim, he was under work restrictions. He couldn’t work overtime anymore. He was only allowed to be on light duty and work maximum 40 hours a week -which is unheard in his job.

Workmen’s Compensation has a limit on what they pay you for the wages you lose. ‘Wage Loss’ or LOST WAGES, is also not a given, you have to ask for it.

We had to go to court again! We lost, we appealed. We won -they appealed. We won again. Four months later they agreed to pay him ‘lost wages’ which is paid weekly. They take your income for the last three months before the accident, the average, that’s the number they are working with. But only 80% of it. You never the full 100% you made before.

From that moment on sent a weekly check if your earned wages are less than the 80% you had before. (Dahhhh!)

During the last 1,616 days, we lost $40,000.

Workman’s compensation also doesn’t cover health insurance. If you want to continue your coverage, you have to pay it from your reduced income. The logic behind all of this is lost on me.

Blessing in Disguise!

Five days before the scheduled shoulder surgery in November 2019, my husband didn’t pass a stress test during pre-op. He called me and told me “They want to keep me.” I laughed but not for long. They kept him and monitored him after they couldn’t put stents in his blocked arteries. Five days later he had open heart surgery, a quadruple bypass.

The fall at work had spared him a heart attack, which I assume would have been a massive one.

How did I take this all? Don’t ask!

He came home five days after heart surgery. He walked on a walker, and he sat in the recliner we had bought for shoulder surgery. His shoulder still hurting, a big scar on his chest. I am still in awe of how he took it all.

Now we had no income because Workmen’s Comp stopped paying. The heart surgery was not their problem.

How we made it. Good grief! By plain luck.

Our savings had already taken a beating during the year of lost income. I worked harder (not smarter), and we sold some things we didn’t want to sell. Co-workers took up a collection because it was so close to Christmas and two bloggers and a friend donated money to the “Go Fund Me” page I had set up when I was on my wit’s end.

We got hammered with a $5,000 deductible from our health insurance for 2019 and a $5,000 deductible for 2020 as well. If you have to have major surgery, don’t have it by the end of the year.

Our savings disappeared!

Shoulder Surgery

Most Americans will never find out how screwed up our health system is. You pay high monthly premiums, then you pay high deductibles. It brings you to your breaking point. It is so wrong, on so many levels. Why do we not fix this?

The cardiologist cleared my husband for shoulder surgery, another invasive surgery, three months after open heart surgery.

In February 2020, right before the first lockdown for COVID, he got shoulder replacement surgery.

He was sent home. He was in pain. He became a zombie for one week on oxycodone. The pain got better, and physical therapy began. More pain! Shoulder surgeries are no fun!

COVID Lockdown

When the lockdown happened we got the first Workmen’s comp check. By then it was April. We had been without any income from my husband’s side for almost six months. I am still mighty proud of myself that I pulled us through.

The first check was a nice one, and our lawyer got 30%. The check was solely used to pay bills.

During the COVID lockdown, I started sewing facemasks after hospitals called everybody in my line of work. We all sewed our little hearts out. After a few weeks, I made my husband my helper and he stepped up.

For hours and hours, he ironed fabric, cut fabric, put the layers together and I sewed from 8 am to 5 pm every day. He cut and ironed for eight hours. It gave us something to do.

We donated thousands of facemasks but sold hundreds of them on Etsy and eBay as well.

We needed to live!

Light Duty – Humiliation

Then the Workmen’s Comp insurance company asked him to go back to work on light duty. They refused to pay “Lost Wages” for him sitting at home and so four months after surgery he reported back to work. His company was considered “essential”, the rest of the world was still in lockdown.

My husband’s weight restrictions were 10 lbs. His job required him to lift 75 lbs, even as a supervisor.

They gave him a desk in the warehouse and from 8 am to 4 pm every day he had to hand-copy a safety book. He filled notebooks over notebooks writing with his left hand. I don’t know how he did it. It became clear they wanted him to quit. With that Workman’s compensation would end and they would be off the hook.

I could have not done what he was doing. I would have refused. I am certain I would have walked out.

My husband, who is damaged goods just like me, remembered the time in our lives when he had been desperate for a job.

“It’s a job, it pays the bills,” he said and while he hated every minute of it, he made it through two months of daily writing. Two months of humiliation?

BYE BYE Lost Wages?

Then, from one day to the next, he was sent to a different department. Overtime was required, and all of a sudden they ignored his 40-hr restrictions. He worked 50+ hours. Finally, he got some checks that made life good again. He worked there for 2 months, then he was sent back to the old department, this time he sat in an office and helped the ‘girls’.

He was back on 40 hours but no more lost wage checks came in. When I asked the lawyer’s office why, they told me that it ended because he had worked overtime. We would have to apply again and they didn’t think it would work.

For them, the case was closed. A voice inside me rebelled.

His restriction would go on for two more years. His next appointment with the shoulder surgeon was set for 2023. Not getting some kind of compensation didn’t make any sense to me. I researched it for days, made calls, and asked questions.

Sure enough, the law says he was eligible for 200 weeks of lost wages. So far he had only gotten 60 weeks.

Without our lawyers, I filled out the paperwork and send it to the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation and to the Worker’s Compensation insurance. Also, I faxed our lawyers a copy. “That’s how your job is done,” I wrote because I couldn’t help it.

The Insurance declined the claim and asked for a hearing but they were out of appeals. We won! They agreed to pay for 170 more weeks. The last payment will come in two weeks from today. 🙂

Workmen’s Compensation has sent us through a special kind of hell. As far as I am concerned (and I am) they should pay what they owe us, because everybody who is injured at work, loses a lot.

More Humiliation?

After we won the Lost Wage Claim and they had to pay, somehow his company came up with a ‘new job’ and a new form of light duty for my husband -even though there were other opportunities.

Now THEY asked him to open the warehouse and office every morning at 4:30 am.

In 2021 and almost the whole year 2022 my husband got up every day at 2:30 am to be at work on time. He went to bed at 7 pm and started jawning around 6 pm. Dinner all of a sudden had to be ready by 5 pm. It rattled my world!

When I was finally done with my day and ready to unwind, my partner was in bed.

It took a toll on our marriage. We hardly had any quality time left and no matter how hard I tried (and I tried) I woke up every night. Either I heard him, or the dogs did. Every night I was awake from 2:30 am to around 4 am when he left. Then I was able to fall asleep again, for about 1 1/2 hrs when it was time for me to get up as well.

One night I found myself sitting in my bed in the middle of the night, crying. I had just slammed a door, which is something I normally don’t do.

My husband had asked to be released from his opening-duty numerous times. No luck! Promises made- that weren’t kept. Our sleep-deprived life continued.

By the end of 2022, right after Thanksgiving, I said the words I thought I would never say. “It’s me or your job, this is killing me, this is killing us.” And when I heard myself say it, I knew it was what had been on my mind.

This insanity had to stop, one way or another. I didn’t have an answer on how to stop it, but just knew we couldn’t go on like this.

I always believed a lack of communication destroys most marriages and so we both sat down and talked for hours. My side! His side! Our side!

It was US against THEM!

The Angry Wife

I composed a letter on my computer and made it sound like it was him, but clearly, it was me. I am the ‘desk worker’, the thinker, and good with words -if I want to be. A good -and honest- friend of mine read it. “That’s a complaint of an angry employee, they are not taking this seriously,” she said. Her advice: Get rid of the angry wife!

In the evening my husband and I re-wrote the letter and the next morning the following was sent out via email to HR, the President and Vice President, and his boss:

I am writing to express concerns about my current position.
Every morning, Monday to Friday, I am opening the office and warehouse at 4:30 am in the morning. I get up two hours before, at 2:30 am.

I am a cardio patient and have brought up my concerns frequently. Since months I am sleep deprived.

I had open heart surgery (quadruple bypass) in November 2018. I am a cardio patient for life. I am on medications (morning and evening) and have adjusted my lifestyle accordingly. I take care of my health situation and do everything on my end to stay healthy.

Until I had to get up that early, I felt strong and healthy. This has changed. According to my cardiologist, being sleep deprived puts me at a high risk of having a cardio episode. It increases the chance to have a heart attack or heart-related complications between 30-40%. A risk I should not have to take!

Over a period of four months I have asked numerous managers, and people temporarily in charge, to put me on a different schedule. All of them assured me they would look into it, and made promises they didn’t keep.

I have been told I would not have to open up anymore after my Thanksgiving vacation, which ended yesterday, December 4th, yet to my surprise, I was again on the call log for today, scheduled for 4:30 am.

For the last ten years, I have shown nothing but dedication and loyalty to the company. I even once got a bonus for being so dedicated and reliable, and my name was mentioned in an employee meeting because my attitude and my work ethic were found worth mentioning.

Finally, when I asked why I have to open up I was told because I am reliable. In other companies, you get promoted when you are a dedicated employee, yet I got demoted and punished.

Working under these circumstances is unacceptable. No employee should be belittled, insulted, discriminated against, or forced to risk their health.

I am requesting this issue to be addressed as soon as possible.


No more anger! Only facts! Two days later he was transferred back to his old job. Our sleep cycle and our marriage were back to normal.

2023 and the future

Now 1,616 days after his fall, his shoulder surgeon who he just saw, allowed him to work as much as he wants. No more hourly restriction, and hardly any weight restriction (50 pounds now).

Back to normal?


My husband put in his two-week notice last Monday after he asked for a significant raise -which was denied!

He will start working for a competitor on May 22nd, and they will start him out exactly at the amount his company just declined to pay. They tried to get him for years.

The Workmen’s Compensation nightmare is almost over.

There will be a settlement hearing in February 2024 (there is a wait time of six months after Lost Wages run out, which also doesn’t make any sense).

I will speak at the court hearing because let’s face it, who else than the spouse who watched the loved one in pain could speak better on his or her behalf. I will not be the angry wife, but will spit out facts and I will make sure the three missing muscles in his arm, won’t be overlooked!

Our future looks good!


31 thoughts on “And Just Like That It’s Over -A Workmen’s Comp Nightmare!

  1. Bridget–this was crazy. I retired from 25 years as a work comp claims adjuster and I know every state has different statutes but this was nuts. I am so sorry you and your husband had to go through all of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it was (is) crazy. The reason being that the company my husband worked chose to be self-insured. The insurance company who provides Workman’s comp also provides their payroll. They lawyered up and made it so much more complicated. I can imagine how your neck hair must have stood up.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is an incredible saga, Bridget! Yes, you’ve shared bits and pieces of this horrendous journey, but reading it as you’ve shared today I shake my head at your fortitude and endurance, and obvious creativity that you could survive financially. I don’t even know more that I could say, but I’m sitting here shaking my head in absolute admiration of your “stick-to-it-iveness” and the resolve you have both made to be survivors of the first order. Nightmare it has been, and I just wish you well in every forward (carefully navigated) step forward!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s good nobody gives you a warning when the Workmen’s Compensation Nightmare starts. This way you grow as it unfolds. You are right, it’s head-shaking material and we were one of the lucky ones. I shudder thinking what happens to the ones who will never recover after head injuries or the ones who lose limbs or end up being paralyzed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I applaud your tenacity and perseverance. I’m so glad things are looking good. It’s giving me solace and hope during a difficult time with my Dad where he is facing a risky surgery with many complications. I wish you and your husband all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He is very excited. His eyes are sparkling. He filled out the paperwork yesterday and at least 10 ex-employees from the company he worked for, are waiting for him to start. It made him feel so good. He deserves it. While the last four years were hard on me, they were hell for him.


  4. Ow wow! What a way… I thought our system was not that good but it’s even worse there it seems… I’m glad you have gotten through it all and he’s finally getting the job he deserves! As the previous job definitely didn’t deserve him. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • As you know, I am from Europe and I do remember the health care system I left behind very well. It puzzles me for over 35 years that this country doesn’t get it together. Sadly, the Americans are so used to co-pays and deductibles, they don’t even question it anymore.
      I think I fought so hard because it wasn’t my fight, but I did it for my husband. Watching him suffer brought the worse out in me -just like it would in every other woman who loves her spouse.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this and it makes my blood boil. Why does this shit have to happen?

    The way people today approach health is through the lens of drugs first. COVID made it worse.

    I’m so sorry about this ordeal you suffered. It’s good you took the time to share it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You both have been living a Hell ever since that fall Bridget. So sorry to hear about the trials and tribulations. Workers Comp is a bad insurance plan. Every worker must have it. When an accident happens, you think you are covered, but WC is trying to figure out A) how they can minimize benefits B) how so they can get you back to work. In the meantime, nobody seems to advocate for the injured worker. Glad you were there for him, and good luck at the settlement hearing. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am so looking forward to the settlement hearing and not because of the money, even though it would be nice to get a little bit back, but for the right to be heard -just once.
      There is no oversight committee, the rules are different from state to state. However, I have to say when I applied in our behalf without the lawyers, the Ohio Workmen’s comp agent was helping more than she should have.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is the same crap show in the province I live in. Insurance company’s weather private or Government are out to save any money they can by denying claims. 🤗


  7. I am so pleased that your husband has secured his new position, his old firm did not deserve the loyalty he gave them and they should be ashamed of themselves. It’s good that you are now almost at the end of this horrible episode in your lives. Love and hugs to you Bridget, you are one determined lady!

    Liked by 2 people

    • He is excited. I think he needs now a challenge and the possibilities with this company are endless. He will turn 65 this year and could retire with 66 and 8 months, but I think he will take the check and continue working. He has felt like a lost puppy, so it will be good for him.
      Thank you for the love and the hugs. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That was quite an ordeal you went through with your husband! It’s wonderful that he is finally working for a company that appreciates his dedication and skills. Kudos to you for the support you gave him throughout this nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s what they count on, that you give up and they get out of the liability.
      The last years have definitely shown me a lot about the system we have in place.
      It’s frustrating and giving up was just not an option. I assume even Ferdinand the Bull turns around and uses his horns, if you poke him too often.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s