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A work accident causes serious head injury for bus driver

There are a number of injures an individual can sustain in a work-related accident. Head injuries, for example, can be caused by a slip and fall or falling debris. Getting medical treatment for a head injury can be expensive and costly; workers' compensation benefits can help an injured worker deal with some of those bills.

For one school bus driver, workers' compensation benefits would have allowed him to get a surgery after he suffered a possible brain injury in a job accident. But when the workers' compensation doctor refused to approve the surgery, the school bus driver sought another doctor's opinion. But that resulted in the immediate denial of workers' compensation and the school bus driver was subsequently fired by his employer for being unable to return to his driving job.

The driver had been an employee of the school district for four years. In the winter of 2010, he dropped off a bus load of students at school and was returning the vehicle to its storage facility when a tractor trailer made an illegal turn in front of him. Police reports put the truck driver at fault.

The bus driver had injuries to his head and neck, which produced constant headaches. An orthopedic surgeon allowed the driver to return to work in the spring, but with restrictions; the school district reassigned him to an internal job.

Though the orthopedic surgeon recommended surgery, a workers' compensation doctor would not agree. Dissatisfied with that opinion, the bus driver decided to speak with another orthopedic surgeon which resulted in his workers' compensation being dropped. Because the bus driver had used all of his sick days and was not covered by short-term disability, the school district fired the bus driver, claiming he could not perform his job.

The unemployed driver did have surgery, a bill he paid himself that put him over $40,000 in debt, but it's a loss he hopes to recoup. The driver is repealing the decision made by workers' compensation to end his benefits, a legal process that could take two years.

Source: Rapid City Journal online, "Injured bus driver fired after sick leave runs out," Lynn Taylor Rick, 24 April 2011

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Eley Law Firm
2000 S. Colorado Blvd. No. 2-740
Denver, CO 80222

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