Safeway Workman's Compensation Claims Attn: Christy Wilmoth Just A Claim Number: On The Job Injuries !!
January 13, 2002 while checking at the local Safeway store, I lifted two plastic bags with my left hand and strained my wrist. At the time, I was unsure of what to do or who to tell. I talked to another employee who called the night manager up front and filed a report.
Two days later, still in pain, I went back to checking and was then called into the office to talk to a nurse over the phone. She, who never saw my wrist and had no idea what was wrong at the time, not only told me it was minor, but just to ice it and go back to checking. After putting up with the pain for a week, I finally went to my doctor without asking or telling anyone that I was going.
My family doctor thought I tore my ligament and put me on light duty and told me to wear a brace. The pain continued for another month and he finally sent me to a specialist. Not only did the specialist just look at my wrist and say I have an "intolerance for pain" but he also sent me back to work.
I tried to work but could not lift anything with my left hand. I went and told my manager that I could not check anymore and he told me to "tough it out" and that the doctor released me. I told him that I know he released me but I am going back to my family doctor because something wasn't right. I started crying in the checkstand because of the pain and was just brushed aside and told that he couldn't "accomodate me" anymore.
I went back to my family doctor and he sent me to get a second opinion and to go through physical therapy. I spent three weeks in physical therapy with no improvement. By this time it had been going on 4 months. The specialist I saw ordered a MRI and discovered I have a ganglion cyst in my wrist that is pushing on my nerves. We tried anti-inflamatories, cortizone shot, everything that we could possibly do.
Finally it was settled that I was going to have surgery to extract the cyst once and for all. The date was set for May 30 at 1PM. The day before, the 29th, I had been on the phone with the hospital pre-registering and talking to the the anethesiologist. Everything was set and although I was nervous about it, I thought that soon the pain would be over.
At 3PM on the 29th I get a call from my claims examiner at Safeway. She had not only cancelled my surgery the day before, but told me this big lie about how she didn't know about the surgery or the fact that I had been seeing the specialist. Each time I had went to the doctor, I had brought in a note that was faxed up to her.
By this time, my pain level is so intense I am taking percosets just to sleep and be able to stand it. It's like having a big tumor in the middle of your wrist and it hurts very badly. My specialist put me on leave and faxed a note to my manager and to my claims person. I call her today and she claims she never knew I was on leave. She doesn't know what is going on. That I need a third opinion and that she so cares about my pain level but she has a process to go through. It's been five months.
My rip-off report has to do with the workman's compensation of Safeway. They claim to care about your well-being and the fact that you are injured, but yet when you try to fix the problem, you have to jumps through hoops to get anything done. If we address the injury directly, people will be back to work sooner. They don't care about that. It's all about the big company not paying for the people who keep them alive and in business. We are not only employees but we are customers too and it's become apparent that not only do we not matter, but our families and our lively hood are of no concern to them either.
What is the point of having Workman's Compensation if they are not going to do what is best for the actual worker? They drag everything out so the individual who has filed a claim will just get tired of it and use their own insurance, or they pay them off so they will just "disappear." I don't know about anyone else, but I personally find this whole practice hypocritical and abusive.
I don't know any/many people who get hurt on the job to try to rip-off the company. It seems like if you are injured, you must have done it somewhere's else and are just trying to get them to pay for it. I can imagine that has happened before but when the person who is injured has followed every demand, who put off going to a doctor and listened to a nurse on the phone who knew nothing of what happened, who has brought in notes and tried every possible way to get better, why are we all treated like criminals?
I have been told that it will be between 2 or more weeks for me to even get approval let alone have surgery now. Two more weeks of pain. Two more weeks of sleepless nights, of not being able to drive or do anything for myself. Two more weeks for them to come up with a better excuse to put off a needed surgery. Two more weeks of more lies, more pay loss, more frustration and anger on my side of the claim.
That doesn't matter though. She has a job to do. She has papers to fill out and the fact that a person is hurting, well, I am just a person on a phone. A faceless person who she hopes will go away. Well, I won't. I hope that all of you who are injured, whether it be at Safeway or at another place of business, just stick with it. You work hard and you earn the right to be treated like a person, not a claim number.
I keep hoping that some miracle will happen and my managers, Christy Wilmoth, and everyone else who has made my injury more stressful and more painful, I hope that someday they don't get hurt on the job. I would so hate for them to be jerked around like I have been. Then again, I am JUST a claim number.
Dallas, Oregon Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Safeway Grocery