Note from Dan: In Thursday’s column, I wrote about three women who have been put through the wringer navigating the confounding and frustrating Virginia workers compensation system, on behalf of loved ones injured on the job. One of them is Cathy Hockman, who lives in northeastern North Carolina, just across the border from Chesapeake. That’s where her son was working, in a Best Buy store, when he was injured in 2007. Tuesday I spent about 90 minutes on the phone with her. Below is a letter she wrote earlier this year to the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission. The original named her son and a specific attorney in the law firm of Midkiff, Muncie, and Ross; at Hockman’s request this version redacts both of those names.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
To The Honorable Commissioner Williams:
The title Virginia Workers’ Compensation is an oxymoron. There is no real compensation in this curse of a system, put in place to protect the employers from law suits and to line the pockets of the greedy law firms who represent them, the insurance carriers, and their adjusters.
This system does not protect the injured worker; on the contrary it leaves him vulnerable, and allows him to be manipulated, humiliated, neglected, and rendered financially ruined.
The fifth anniversary of my son’s catastrophic workplace accident was December 11, 2012. Tragically his young life has been forever altered by his injuries. My son fell head first to the concrete floor in the warehouse of a Best Buy store in Chesapeake, VA. He suffered skull fractures, an epidural hematoma, which required a craniotomy, a ruptured ear drum, a sprained neck, a broken shoulder, a broken arm, a broken elbow, a broken wrist, and a dislocated knee.
The arm and knee injuries required closed reductions. He suffers from vision, cognitive, memory, and speech issues. He tests positive for seizure disorder. He suffers from severe debilitating headaches; he has been awarded all of his injuries and Lifetime Medical. He was just a part-time worker and full-time college student when he was thrust into this system. What has been more devastating than his horrific accident has been his treatment allowed by a system that has turned their back on him, and is a lie with its very name . . . The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.
The entities who have greatly benefited from my son’s Lifetime Medical award have been the adjuster and the law firm of Midkiff, Muncie & Ross. Read more »