In May of 2019, a fall at work interrupted Marina Vieyra’s years of service at the Mirage Casino and Hotel. She immediately knew something was seriously wrong. Walking into work as she had for so many years would not be an option for a long time, and that terrified her.
“I didn’t know what to expect, what I was going to do if I couldn’t walk,” said Marina, who has more than 27 years of exceptional experience working in the hospitality industry. “It was very frightening.”
Marina had tripped over a parking space wheel stop and badly fractured her left knee patella. The damage was so severe she needed immediate surgery followed by months of rest and rehabilitation. “You are lying there and not sure if you will walk again or when you can go back to your life,” said Marina, who is the matriarch of her close-knit multigenerational family. “There are so many questions.”
A family member shared their experience with GGRM and urged her to call. Although hesitant at first, she knew she needed to be proactive in order to receive the help she needed to return to work as soon as possible.
When Marina met with associate attorney David Rothenberg, the team noticed she was suffering other injuries that had been eclipsed by the painful knee fracture. “It’s not just the pain that you come in with, but the pain that manifests later that many of our clients don’t realize,” Rothenberg said. “We fight for what they need, not just what they want.”
After realizing she had subsequent injuries from this serious fall, the GGRM team expanded the claim. “Many clients who come in for an injury, they aren’t complaining about the other pain they are feeling,” Rothenberg said. “We get it identified and taken care of. For Marina and many of our ESL clients, there is a lot more explaining beyond the case. They need to know that it is going to be okay. We are taking care of you so you can take care of your family and get back to work.”
Marina was candid and asked the GGRM team many pertinent questions. But behind the brave face and acceptance of this difficult situation, Rothenberg sensed her nervousness. “It’s a lot to take in, but she was very straightforward and wanted to understand everything,” Rothenberg said. “I explained what to expect, relieved some of that anxiety she had about what was going to happen, all those unknowns.”
The difficult part for many clients is not just the pain and the lengthy paperwork process but having to reduce work hours to part-time and/or light duty or worrying about being out of work completely. “Not being able to work is terrifying,” Rothenberg said. “When you know that you will be able to go back to work, to get back to your life, that can make such a difference in your recovery.”
Like so many in her position, Marina felt tossed into a traumatic situation where she had little control over decisions, medical care, and her future. “People worry about losing their jobs, not understanding the process, being out of work, incarcerated or deported,” Rothenberg said of many ESL clients who eventually turn to us for help. “Marina worried that she would not be able to go back to work. But she, like others, eventually realized that it could be much easier to have an advocate.”
The case wound its way through the process with the GGRM team at her side. “MGM came around eventually, and this case didn’t have any issues,” Rothenberg said. When GGRM expanded the case to include the right shoulder injury, the employer accepted it without hesitation. “I don’t like it when people are short-changed. We were glad to get all of her injuries taken care of and not just what the doctors (concentrated) on.”
As Marina healed and finally returned to light duty just over a year after her injury, she became an advocate. She has eased the worry for others who have been hurt in the workplace and are fearful of the process. “I was so happy to get back to work quickly,” she said. “I tell everyone I know who has been hurt or needs help that GGRM can help, and it’s not scary.”