On Febuary 16, 2009 I put in my arrival at rail yard message. Since I was in the middle of a freakish snow storm that the area I was in was not supposed to have gotten, I put on my required snow cleets before getting out of the truck. I began to climb out of the truck using the 3 points of contact. When my right foot hit the ground it inverted inward to the point that I was standing on the ball joint of my ankle. When I was done screaming in Agony I regained my composure, hobbled around the best that I could to release the trailer from the tractor, got up in the tractor and began letting everyone know by Qual-Com and phone of what had just happened. Thank God this happened 7 miles from my house.
They had the truck towed to the drop yard and it was agreed upon that I would go see the DR. at Concentra first thing the next morning due to the bad weather. When I went to the Dr. at Concentra he said that it was a slight sprain. I knew better. A slight sprain you can bare down on with pressure. I couldnt walk. Since I was based out of Illinois I was under Illinois Work Comp. My case manager through Liberty Mutual told me that I had 2 choices of Drs. I went to my Doctor the next day with Xrays in hand.
When my Dr first looked at it he could have sworn it was broken. He ordered more Xrays and classified it as a Severe Grade 3 Sprain. When I asked him about the healing time he said that it would be atleast 3-4 months before I could drive. 3 weeks had past and no change in my ankle. During this 3 weeks I recieved paper work from my dispatcher for FMLA. When I called him about it he said that it was just so I could keep my benefits. I expressed to my Dispatcher that this was a work injury not a family medical issue. And he agreed. The second visit to my doctor, I handed him the paper work. He even questioned it. I told him what my dispatcher told me. He filled it out and faxed it back to them. About a week before my last visit with my Family Dr, I recieved noticed that I didnt qualify for FMLA but I did qualify for Med Leave. Again I called my Dispatcher and told him once again that this was an ON THE JOB INJURY. Not an injury that happened outside of work. He gave me the same bull line about its so I can keep my Benefits. I took those papers back to my doctor. He filled them out. Since I was already 3 weeks into this he put down that I would probably be able to return to work in 8-10 weeks. My next visit to him he reffered me to an Orthopedic Specialist.
That following Monday I received a letter stating that I was approved for 6 weeks Med Leave. And if I didnt return by the end date (March 29th) that was posted I would be terminated. I called my dispatcher once more. He said that it was policy. I hung up from him and called human resources. The girl that I talked to said the same thing. The more I thought about it the more I got upset. I grabbed my policy handbook and began investigating. Nowhere in the policy handbook that they hand out does it state that IF AN EMPLOYEE SUBSTAINS AN INJURY WILL IT BE PUT AS FMLA AND/OR MED LEAVE. I called the girl back in Human resources and began my argument process. She said that it was their policy to put employees who are hurt on the job on FMLA and/or Med Leave. When I told her that it was not in the Policy book she said she knows that and not all policies for the company are. I knew then I was working with idiots.
My first Ortho appt I told the Doc the time line we had. 6 weeks. He honestly told me that he doubted if I would be ready in 6 weeks but we would try. He ordered an MRI, a Boot and 12 Physical Therapy Visits. Work Comp Ok'd the MRI right off the bat. But it took them 1.5 weeks to OK the Boot and P.T. Now we had 4.5 wks before the dead line. The MRI showed a stressed Nerve Bundle and Very stretched out and irritated tendon. He wrote JB a letter explaining to them the severity of the injury. He also stated that surgery was still going to be an option providing that the Nerves and tendon did not heal correctly.
About a week before the dead line I received a letter in the mail from Corporate with a Med Leave Extension Form. They told me to take this to my treating Physician and have him fill it out if more time was going to be needed. I took it to his office, he filled out and his secretary faxed it with me standing there.
On April 10, 2010, My P.T. guy asked me if I could drive wearing a sports brace. I told him that I would find out for him. I came home and immediate called Chicago Safety. As I talked to the Safety Director about this issue she told me absolutely not because I could not pass the endurance test that went with the DOT recert. Little did she know I could pass and still can pass the endurance test because those are the excercises that I was doing for P.T. She said nothing about termination. I hung up from her and called my dispatcher and asked him for his fax number. When he asked what for I told him that by law I had to log every visit to the Dr. and P.T. and I needed to fax them to him. It was then I found out that I had been terminated due to the injury. I became IRATE. He then told me that he put me down as a rehire and when I was released by the Doctor to call recruiting and get set up.
On Friday, April 30, 2010 I was released to go back to work at full duty. When I got home I called JB's recruiter and she had me all set up to go back. When the scheduler got on the phone he told me that YES I was eligible for rehire but I had to drive for another company for 6 months. When I brought up the fact of the reason for my termination to begin with he said that it wasnt his problem and hung up.
Do I have grounds for a lawsuit and if I do, What kind would it be?