Michael Moebes: I had a client who was a middle-aged lady. She hurt her knee badly, because she worked for a tax collecting entity up in one of the northern suburb counties, and we had some bad snow and ice. This was a couple winters ago and most of Atlanta shut down (as happens all over the South when there’s snow and ice, because we don’t have the equipment to clear the roads).
Despite the conditions, her boss said “you’ve got to come to work anyway.” So she did, but as she got out of the car and was walking across the parking lot, she slipped and fell badly on the ice just outside her workplace. She went and had surgery, and the doctor they sent her to was not a very good doctor, frankly, or maybe he was a good doctor and just screwed up badly, but in any event, her knee did not get any better; in fact, it got worse. And then she came to me, and I was able to help her get with a new doctor.
If I remember correctly, it was with Emory Medical Center, which has good physicians, and she had another surgery and–she actually needed two more surgeries to her knee—so she had three total surgeries. After that, it finally got to a point where she could ambulate and get around, so she was able to work light duty for a while. After this, however, she ended up getting fired her over some unsubstantiated accusation.
When she got fired, we were able to get her workers’ comp benefits started up, and that was the one where a couple of times we were on the eve of going to court and they would offer a little bit of money or some kind of concession. Then we wouldn’t go forward. Finally, they offered enough money where we felt like she could go on with her life and continue to treat and rehabilitate the knee but not have to deal with fighting workers’ comp for any kind of medical procedures or benefits.
It was very rewarding to help her, but it was a hard fought case where I took a lot of depositions of the employer—of all her former colleagues—about the circumstances of her getting fired while she was on light duty. Getting her the right medical care, getting her to the better knee doctor, etc. — all of that was through the workers’ comp carrier that paid for the medical care. So she was happy and was able to turn it into improving her life and improving her education.
It’s very rewarding to try to be in a position where people come to you when they’re at possibly their greatest–or one of their greatest—low points in their lives. Being able to help them crawl out of that and, hopefully, eventually get to a point where they can see some benefit from the changes that had to take place as a result. That’s probably the most enjoyable part of doing this, I think.