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Going Through Lawsuit With Dysautonomia


janiedelite
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I'll try not to make this too long. 2 and 1/2 years ago my husband and I were T-boned in our car by a lady who ran a stop sign and I've had to have 2 hip surgeries since then to repair the injuries, and I'm left with back problems. I had to leave my job because of severe pain and was out for over a year due to hip stuff. (Now I'm disabled from worsening POTS) Anyway, she had the lowest insurance coverage and I'm looking at medical bills for over 100 PT visits, 2 surgeries, multiple docs, over a year of lost wages, and future medical bills. And my underinsured motorist stopped paying 3 months after the accident because they say the hip injury wasn't caused by this wreck. So we've taken them all to court :huh: . Never done this before. The 4-hour deposition was SO fun... not.

I thought I'd post my frustrations about it today because I had to go to an IME (Independent Medical Evaluation) this morning, basically a doc hired by the defense. And even though he'd read ALL my records (even my dysautonomia records, which are many) he had me regurgitate all the facts that are now over 2 years old. I'm having such brain fog lately, and tried my best, but I kept forgetting words (and when I'd ask him the word I was looking for to describe ___, he'd look at me like I was nuts). I couldn't even remember our wedding date 2 years ago when I was talking about using a cane on our honeymoon. I kept losing my place in sentences, but he kept changing the time in history we were focusing on trying to confuse me. He said he couldn't see how the accident caused my injuries, and I finally told him that that issue was the crux of it all and I was the one who filed a lawsuit so I appreciated his concern but that I would worry about proving my case! 1 and 1/2 hours of fun.

I had a really bad dysautonomia month in December and rarely got out of bed. The constant requests from my attorney for paperwork and medical records were causing me to flare even worse. My husband actually told the lawyer we were dropping the case because he couldn't handle seeing me get any sicker. A good friend of ours convinced us to persist, and the lawyer said he'd have his paralegal just interact with my husband and not me. The settlement conference is 3/20, just a couple weeks away, and if we go to trial it will start 3/31. Hopefully we will settle and not go further.

So, if I do go to trial I told my lawyer I'm going to have to lay down somehow. How crazy will that look??? :o And I'm having this brain fog which won't be very convincing on the stand when I testify... :( . But this tops it all... the defense's attorneys have been getting my medical records for all my docs for dysautonomia trying to say that POTS caused my hip injury :P;);) . That really ticked me off at first, because it felt like such an invasion of privacy when we are dealing with finding out I have a chronic, debilitating illness they are using anything they can to their advantage. I know it's just their job, but I still have to defend myself to the likes of Dr. IME today saying that the nervous system doesn't dent bones, rupture ligaments or tear cartilage.:lol:

Anyway, EVERYTHING we do with POTS is so much harder than when we were healthy. I'm sure you guys understand, and thanks for reading.

Janie

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So, if I do go to trial I told my lawyer I'm going to have to lay down somehow. How crazy will that look??? ;) And I'm having this brain fog which won't be very convincing on the stand when I testify... :P . But this tops it all... the defense's attorneys have been getting my medical records for all my docs for dysautonomia trying to say that POTS caused my hip injury :o;):huh: . That really ticked me off at first, because it felt like such an invasion of privacy when we are dealing with finding out I have a chronic, debilitating illness they are using anything they can to their advantage. I know it's just their job, but I still have to defend myself to the likes of Dr. IME today saying that the nervous system doesn't dent bones, rupture ligaments or tear cartilage.:lol:

Anyway, EVERYTHING we do with POTS is so much harder than when we were healthy. I'm sure you guys understand, and thanks for reading.

Janie

Janie, be prepared for an EDS diagnosis from the defending lawyer!!!!!!! Get your physician or POTS specialist to verify yes or no to that one, because IF this lawyer is smart he will see the obvious connection and blame it on EDS! In a weird way, he could get a jury or judge to question (there only has to be a question in their minds!) that your injuries were EDS and not the accident! Just prepare for it! I was on a jury for an insurance case recently and you'd be amazed what these lawyers come up with. All they have to do is generate doubt!

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Janie, be prepared for an EDS diagnosis from the defending lawyer!!!!!!! Get your physician or POTS specialist to verify yes or no to that one, because IF this lawyer is smart he will see the obvious connection and blame it on EDS! In a weird way, he could get a jury or judge to question (there only has to be a question in their minds!) that your injuries were EDS and not the accident! Just prepare for it! I was on a jury for an insurance case recently and you'd be amazed what these lawyers come up with. All they have to do is generate doubt!

Dr. Fealey drew a pretty clear connection in my final notes that my POTS was viral-induced, pinning down my onset to when I had mono in 2006. I was hoping that would be clear enough! :rolleyes:

Amber, thanks. I just might do that... B)

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Firewatcher, thanks for your suggestion about the EDS. It has been very apparent that the defense is looking for any way to discredit my case. Unfortunately, there is very little documentation in my doctor's records for the 3 months following the accident about my hip pain. The pain was mostly referred to my left foot (which I complained about in the ER the day of the crash) and my mid and low back (which is documented in PT records a month or two after the accident). I suffered horrible whiplash which took me several months of therapy to recover from. Once my upper back/neck pain lessened the hip complaints emerged.

I'm really only going through this out of principle since it ended up being such a financially devastating injury. After the health plan and LTD insurers collect their leins, and the attorney gets his, I'll be surprised if we get much at all if I get a ruling in my favor. I asked my orthopedic surgeon about dropping the case, but he is very certain that my injuries could have only happened because of this accident. The attorney is very confident in my case, mostly because he said I make a very confident, honest witness. How confident will I be with the POTS raging, though???

Anyway, all these questions are in my mind. We've been emailing the paralegal our various concerns, and lately we're wondering what will be our financial obligation if we lose the case. I asked the lawyer this question last year and he said that he doesn't collect fees if we lose and they pay the court costs, but who pays the defendant's attorney's fees? We've finally just gotten up on our feet financially after my job loss and medical issues...

So I've hardly slept the past 2 nights because of this horrible adrenaline. It's so much more difficult to endure stress with POTS. I can tell I'm going to get really ill if I don't settle down. I told my hubby how I'm doing and he is fielding all the emails from the paralegal today. He also is taking the day off in 2 weeks for the settlement conference so he can drive me and speak for me if I need him to.

Thanks for your input! Janie

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  • 4 weeks later...

There is no way NOT to be anxious about this legal situation. My guess is they will about 10 days before trial start offering settlement. Then your attorney will earn his/her fee. I worked for a personal injury attorney as a patient advocate. so if you do go to trial, make sure your rest time inclused the reason you are there. Hip, Back Leg..........It all has to come back to that. You could also get a letter from your orthopedist that you need periodic rest....whatever..Godspeed

Miriam

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There is no way NOT to be anxious about this legal situation. My guess is they will about 10 days before trial start offering settlement. Then your attorney will earn his/her fee. I worked for a personal injury attorney as a patient advocate. so if you do go to trial, make sure your rest time inclused the reason you are there. Hip, Back Leg..........It all has to come back to that. You could also get a letter from your orthopedist that you need periodic rest....whatever..Godspeed

Miriam

Thanks, Miriam. Sure enough, a few days before we were going to a settlement conference my attorney called and said they'd offered something (not much) and that it would be most beneficial for me to take what they offered and go after my underinsured insurance policy, who hasn't offered anything yet. He said it would be easier that way. That's fine with me! We're very relieved not to have to go to court. Either way, I still have all my records. I could definitely bring a note from my PCP who will back up my POTS limitations and make things more bearable.

Thanks guys, Janie

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Stick to your guns! It doesn't matter if they try to say EDS was the cause. I have EDS, but the car accident I had in 1977 caused the problems to be MUCH WORSE then they would have been, and several doctors told me that the impact of the top of my head on the windshield was the beginning of the retroflex odontoid. I suffered upper neck pain along with severe headaches for years, and it eventually got better, but never went away completely. I was young back then, and the guy who hit us didn't have any insurance. He went into the army the same week. My fiance at them time was 6 years older then me and did nothing to see what his rights were. We had a totaled car, injuries, and that was it.

Even if your joints were unstable, it doesn't matter-----------the car accident caused the actual injury to your hips.

I went up against SSDI, a wacked out stalker nurse from and ANS doctors office who tried to discredit me, and an idiot SSDI doctor who claimed I wasn't disabled-------------AND, I was still granted my SSDI because I wouldn't let it go. I wrote my congresswoman, filed a formal complaint on stalker nurse, and also reported the SSDI doctor as being biased. I knew working wasn't an option, and so did the judge, and the medical expert who attended my hearing.

I think my dad has an obvious case in my mother's situation. He was going to sue for malpractice because they didn't find out she had terminal cancer until two days before she died in Feb. She had several CT scans---And they couldn't see it? HMMMMMM, I don't think so. Unfortunately they didn't have an autopsy done, and she was cremated. We were so shocked, and we weren't thinking straight. We just carried on with my mother's wishes. I'll bet those docs were praying for cremation without an autopsy. In my dad's case I think the lawyers were paid off---------------of course it was after he paid them 3K to get all her files. Of course there's a cover up, and of course only selected files were released. My Dad was too much of a wreck to keep on top of it and question every move they made. She was told she had cancer in oct, but it was contained to her bladder, and surgery would remove all the cancer. Here's another obvious mistake-----it's standard to do a CT scan at this time to see if the cancer has spread. How could they assume it didn't spread? or did they do further testing, but didn't see the obvious. i'm positive her whole abdomen didn't become infiltrated with cancer between october and feb------------this is only 4 months-----------NO WAY!

The big fat file is at his house, and I intend to see what's in it. I remember all the tests she had, and I'll bet half the information in there has disappeared. If anything, I will expose MISTAKES--------I WILL expose anyone who has caused my mother unbelievable amounts of needless suffering. At the very least she could have had hospice on board a year to give her the dignity she deserved. She was treated like a piece of meat, and I know one doctor who will prove it. Putting her in rehab one week before she died----------(a dying woman in rehab?!) because no one looked at the lastest CT scan she had previous to that! OOPS------sorry, her whole abdomen was full of cancer, and we were trying to pull her off pain meds because we thought she was becoming addicted, and though she also needed to get off her rear end and get herself in shape for her surgery---(that they were going to do on an outpatient setting, after weeks of suffering huge blood clots, that often come in terminally ill patients). So many things are obvious, and how my Dad's attorney though he could pull there was no case amazes me.

Make sure you can trust your attorney first. Who would ever figure someone working for you would actually be working against you? It happens!

I know in my mothers case there's too many obvious red flags that something isn't right about how her case was handled.

Don't let them intimidate you. I know they count on you giving up, especially when your too sick to keep up with thier shenanigans. Find someone to help with you paper work, and followup on everything to make sure certain documents are recieved, and keep close contact with your attorney or thier assistants to make sure they have all the necessary information pertinant to your case.

On my SSDI case I followed through on every medical record requested, and most of the time I pulled my own records and sent them myself----------THEN called for confirmation and made a record of who I talked to, and the time I talked to them.

Give it everything you have------and ask for support from anyone who is willing to give it----------even if it's your congess person, senator, or Governor.

I hope you have success with your case------------you deserve it!

Maxine :0)

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HI Maxine,

I don't have joint hypermobility, and Mayo said small fiber neuropathy was the cause of my POTS. I've never had any other joint injury (other than TMJ from another accident), so my surgeon is certain the accident caused the hip damage.

I do have an attorney to try to get SSDI, but she was assigned to me by my long-term disability insurer. That's a whole other ball of wax... In the meantime, my LTD is still paying! :) They started paying because my hip injury kept me from my nursing job, but POTS and small fiber neuropathy kicked in in full gear last year and now they base my disability on POTS. I've read your posts on getting SSDI, and I appreciate all the info you shared! I've followed your suggestions so far... we don't even have a hearing date set yet and Oregon is the second-most backlogged state for SSDI hearings. If I have to fight anyone for disability payments, it will be my LTD insurer although they've been okay so far.

It's tough because the lady who hit us was 87 at the time of the accident. She owns a low-end house, and has a few retirement funds. We would have to get a pretty high ruling against her in order to make it worthwhile, which would be hard because it would be a "healthy-looking" 35-year-old suing a now 90-year-old who has Parkinson's. And my hip is nearly healed and my surgeon says I won't develop arthritis. I don't know how high of a ruling we'd get, also because the trial would be held in a more rural county where rulings haven't been very high in the past. So I do agree with my attorney that we should just pursue my underinsured policy.

I'm sorry for how your mom's cancer was handled. Horrible! I hope there wasn't any cover-up, for their sakes.

Thanks for sharing your experience and SSDI advice! Janie

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Janie,

Write your congress person or senator regarding your SSDI. Sometimes it can speed things up.

As far as my mother goes, there's things that are just too obvious, and there isn't any explanation on why a followup CT scan wasn't done when her bladder tumor was found to see if it had spread, or if the tumor in her bladder was matastisized from somewhere else. There was one done when she started going into the hospital in late November with blood clots, but nothing was said about any cancer. Then there was another one done about 10 days before she died. this is the one they sat on while they sent her to rehab, and all this time she was dying-------these were her last days! We were all so confused on why the docs weren't getting how seriousl ill she was.

The day she was scheduled for surgery she wasn't able to have it because she wasn't stable at all. Of course she wasn't, she was dying. Her kidneys were shutting down, he mind had been going----it was just a mess. The first doctor that came in the room said, "your heart is doing fine-----uhhhh, so it's not your heart". The next one was a nephrologist, and he said, "my dear you'll be just fine when we remove that nasty little tumor out of your bladder". Ok, the next one is her urologist, and when he saw her the look on his face was priceless. He slid out of the room, and later motioned to my dad and I to come into a little room. He buried his head into his hands and told us she was full of cancer, and may have three months. She died two days after that---almost to the hour.

Anyway, some day when I get more energy I'll take a peak in that file. It sure seems like something is covered up, but who really knows--------------- :)

Maxine :0)

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