Disabled from driving heavy machinery

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Disabled from driving heavy machinery

Post by trex » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:34 pm

I am disabled and have been trying to return to work.  On October 1, 2015 I was injured as a result of being made to ride for 20 minutes on the fender or "catwalk" of a Komatsu WA600 Front end Wheel Loader, by my employer (2 bosses on site) while the loader was ran at top speed in 4th gear while loading and dumping boulders & rocks, shortly before the end of my work day. 
The heavy driving machine loader was being operated by one of my bosses at the orders of the boss above him at the stone quarry I was working at in Flat Rock, IN.   I was injured as a direct result of being made to ride on the fender or "catwalk" of this loader while standing and bracing myself and holding on for dear life while the loader tossed me around.
I went to the ER at a nearby hospital after the N.P. at the local Immediate care center told me I was injured too badly and they did not have the equipment available there needed to help me after I was examined on the morning of October 2, 2015.  Two different physicians at the hospital whom treated me stated I had a tear in my abdominal region with a golf ball to small chicken egg sized chunk of my small intestines protruding through the abdominal wall. I believe it was classified as a "ventral hernia". 
My family doctor stated & recorded the fact that, "my injury is a direct result of the ride on the heavy machinery. I was taken on the loader at work on October 1, 2015."     I have never had any problems of this type in my past before being made to take the ride on the loader (which I had been operating previously while strapped in to the only seat on the large piece of heavy equipment).
Please understand that this piece of heavy equipment is similar to the size weight of an Abrahams Tank operated by the U.S. military. They are operated in a stone quarry on very rough terrain surfaces at speeds of 24 mph with the operator strapped into an automatic/active air-cushioned seat, you are violently tossed around even while belted into the air-cushioned seat while operating this equipment.
These conditions are like this all day long, every day while working. At the end of each day your entire body is sore from fighting against being thrown around while trying to keep your hands on the controls your feet on the pedals.
While every day operations, belted into the operator's seat in the cab sitting about 10-12ft off the ground are like this and because muscle soreness, I was made to ride on the fender or "catwalk" while standing trying to brace myself between the door jamb the front catwalk railing while holding onto the left armrest of the operator's seat with my right hand, the open door which was loose (unbraced and swinging back forth) with my left hand! 

Beings I have never had any problems with abdominal tears or hernias, or anything of the like in my past, and the fact there was no lumps in my abdominal region the morning of October 1, 2015 when I bathed before going to work, & I had done nothing other than drive home, eat dinner, and watch TV before going to bed that night after getting off work on October 1, 2015, there is no doubt whatsoever that the ride standing on the fender of the loader at work that day with it running full-out, “pedal to the metal" for 20 minutes. While loading, transporting, and dumping, that ride is in fact the because of the injury I have had ever since. 
One of the same doctors whom treated me on October 2, 2015 in the 6 hour(+) ER treatment, treated me again on October 3, 2015 when I returned to the ER fearing a bowel blockage because of signs present they had warned me to watch for.    Although initially after being examined & the doctor saying I didn't have bowel blockage & didn't need emergency surgery on October 3, 2015, sheathe surgeon on duty wanted to do emergency surgery that night anyhow.
I refused to have surgery that night as I had been told the night before I would need surgery to repair the injury & had been scheduled to see a surgeon soon, & I wanted a second opinion from a surgeon outside the hospital. I had also been told that very evening upon my initial examination for bowel blockage that "emergency surgery was not necessary."   
Since both doctors had already told me on October 2, 2015 that “this is a life-altering injury and I'd never be able to operate heavy equipment or drive commercial (CDL) trucks again for the rest of my life, & I may have as low as a 15lb weight lifting restriction for the rest of my life”, I wanted to find the best, most qualified surgeon available to have the best chances! 
Not only am I apprehensive about having surgery again after an adverse reaction to anesthesia at the beginning of my 2003 sinus surgery (at the same hospital), but I was not being treated well or being shown any respect by the doctor and staff on duty October 3, 2015, & I was not comfortable being operated on by them at that time, especially after being told I didn't need emergency surgery.
When I saw the surgeon whom I chose to treat me a few weeks later, he couldn't tell from the CT scans done at the hospital through the ER what my injuries actually are & needs an MRI to find out. The surgeon I've chosen stated that I may not even have a ventral hernia (which would mean surgery is likely not even necessary if that's the case), the injury may be that the muscle has been torn away from the bone in that area. There's no explanation for the golf ball to small chicken egg sized lump that took approximately 20-25 minutes of excruciatingly painful pushing by the ER doctor on October 2, 2015 to "get my intestines back in”, but I do feel I can trust this surgeon I'm now seeing to find out what the injury is and treat me accordingly. 
I believe there is a ventral hernia & although I would prefer it be muscle torn away from bone over that, but until I get an MRI nobody will know.    Getting back to my employer, I believe they discovered I am disabled and the nature of my disability, & through fear& ignorance decided to find some way to get rid of me without losing one of their biggest customers.(the company my brother is vice president of is Ward Stone's(my employer)biggest customer. 
I believe my bosses at Ward Stone decided to get rid of me because they discovered I am disabled and on disability trying to return to work. I had only been working for Ward Stone for a short time, & until the morning of Oct.1, 2015 everything was going great! I had told my family & friends how much I liked my job & how well I was doing.
My bosses thought & told me numerous times that "I was doing exceptionally well operating my heavy equipment loader and they were all impressed" & stated "I was doing much better than anyone else had at the point I was at in my employment."  
 Safety is a big issue in that line of work, they had been preaching "Safety, safety, safety!” from the start of my employment. They did a big 180° on October 1,2015 out of the blue from the start of the day had a complete change in their demeanor and the way they treated and spoke to me, although nothing at all that would warrant this had occurred. 
While I had been told not to expect or even try to operate anywhere near the speeds of my fellow seasoned operators for at least the 1st two to three months, & to operate in 3rd gear and not even go in 4th gear until I was comfortable trying to operate at the increased speed this would allow,(going from around 15 mph in 3rd up to 24 mph in 4th),at 2:30pm on October 1,2015 my boss started the 20 min. Top speed ride I was made to take after telling me from that point on to not worry about safety & they just needed me to run at full speed in 4th gear from that point on! 
 While I had protested the ride, Roy (the boss who took me on the ride) stated Richard (my boss above Roy) said I had to take the ride and insinuated that I should take the ride if I wanted to keep my job. 
Ward Stone's insurance company, Bitco is trying to deny my claim for Workman's Compensation benefits and is refusing to pay any medical bills and refusing any pay for this time I'm off after they have refused to let my surgeon do an MRI and while they have stretched this out for several months before mailing me the denial recently. I have been basically  locked down with my injury unable to work or even exercise which has caused my health to deteriorate and for me to become depressed, have problems sleeping, have more and more severe headaches, & even upset stomach most of the time, & left me just hoping and praying to find help somewhere. 
I am having a hard time finding an attorney to help me, I don't know where to look and at this point I don't even know where to turn or look for help?   I don't know if you can help me, or forward information to me as to where I can find help please, but I am desperate and need help. 
I believe I have been discriminated again because of my disability and that is the reason they have tried (&succeeded) in hurting me so I'm unable to work. I also believe laws may have been broken by them doing what they have done & are doing to me.  This was a job I was very good at, that I was told repeatedly by my employer I was very good at, & that I enjoyed up until the abuse by my bosses started on the morning of October 1, 2015. 
Depending on the outcome & what my injuries turn out to be, I may never be able to operate heavy equipment again or drive using my CDL's or even lift more than 15 lbs. For the remainder of my life as a result of what my employers did to me and their unfair and unwarranted actions on October 1, 2015!   It is very difficult for me to find work that pays well enough for me to have any chance of coming off of disability and still be able to have my needs met. Losing the options of heavy equipment operator, CDL driving, & any ability to lift a reasonable amount of weight really knocks down the number of possible jobs I can do even further.
This is a Major source of stress, upset, & disappointment for me having to worry about and go through what I am now for no good reason, & being unable to work. Doctors have warned me that stress and upset are the things I must avoid most to not advance my medical condition.  I just want & need to work! Financial problems and resulting difficulties because me alot of stress and upset in themselves, & I am unable to have any kind of a meaningful or enjoyable life without being able to work & have a decent paying job.
I’m unable to help my son who needs me. I'm unable to have any kind of a social life or a chance to meet a wife or even get out to meet new friends or find any new opportunities without being able to return to work again.  Please help me, or advise me favorably in any way you can? I can't do this or fight the insurance company for my Workman's Compensation rights on my own, & I currently have not been able to get an MRI to find out how severe my injuries actually are and whether I require surgery or just physical therapy to get back to being able to work, exercise, or strain doing anything (or if I'll even be able to try)   Thank you for your time & help. Sincerely, Mark

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