Accident Disabled Trucker Seeks Grant Money After Workers Comp Rejection
by Johnny Skinner
(Waurika, Oklahoma, USA)
My life of disability started when I suffered a work-related accident May 25, 2010 at about 8:00 pm.
I was working nights, as a saltwater hauler for Coffman's Tank Truck Service out of Chico, Texas. Life was good, bringing home $1800 every two weeks.
As an ex-police officer, I wanted to extend my career in law enforcement and obtain my criminal justice degree to become a probation officer.
To do this, I had to make a lot of money over a three-year period to pay my tuition.
I had been working for Coffman's about a month and a half when dispatch sent me to a location in Tarrant County, Texas to pull 130 barrels of saltwater off of a tank.
Of course I was working alone, as all saltwater haulers do. I was walking toward my semi-truck after gauging my tank when I stepped off an eight-inch drop off that I didn't see.
The gravel slid both my feet out from under me and I fell to the ground hard. I had a pipe wrench in my left hand and as I was falling I twisted to my left to catch my fall.
I struck my left elbow on the top edge of some galvanized flat sheet metal with the weight of the pipe wrench in my hand. I blew out my elbow and my lower back and twisted my left ankle.
I lay on the ground for about 20 minutes, scared to get up. I had left my cell phone in my truck, and looked around for someone to help me up.
I heard my back pop loudly. No one was around. I finally got up on my own, hurting, and finished my task at hand.
I drove one hour to a disposal in shock. There at the disposal I found the man that trained me and reported what happened and finished my night of working.
The next evening, I filled out an accident report. Then came the Texas Workers' Compensation process. What a joke. I was called a liar, and fired.
The Texas Mutual Insurance company sent me to their doctor and he gave me a 0% impairment rating and MMI (maximum medical improvement) on the spot.
The judge decreed I wasn't hurt on the job! I was railroaded all the way.
This is even with a neurosurgeon stating I had two bulged disks and three pinched nerves in my back and my elbow. X-rays showed bone spurs and an EMG showed ulnar neuropathy and entrapment.
I'm 52 years old, God-fearing, and the most honest man you'd want to meet. My wife and I are now feeling feelings we should have never had to feel.
I haven't been capable of passing a pre-employment physical to go back to work. I've been injured for two years and have no financial help.
I'm a proud man that doesn't like to ask anyone for anything. Besides, who truly cares about me and my wife.
I sure do need the truth to prevail!