Repetitive motion injuries are easily the most commonly denied workers’ compensation claims that North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers handle. It is difficult for an employer to deny an injury
that is directly associated with an accident, but repetitive stress injuries develop over time due to overuse of any particular body part. In the case of carpal tunnel, this is the wrist area of the hands that is often the target of continual stress in many manufacturing positions or construction work. Not only do industrial workers suffer carpal tunnel syndrome at a high rate, but many construction workers also experience incapacity in the hands after a career of using them extensively in construction projects. However, the fact that a claim is denied does not mean it cannot be proven as a work-related medical issue when a claim is argued in court.
Establishing the Employment Relationship
The lack of an accident report can be a potential problem for workers who have developed carpal tunnel over a short period of time, but those with an extensive work history in specific positions demanding constant stress on the hands have a strong precedent of prior cases that can be used in proving an injury is valid. Carpel tunnel rarely manifests in short order, but it can in certain occupations. Workplace injury claims lawyers can use extensive work records that may be brought in with subpoena power when employers and their insurance providers are denying a claim. Certain evidence such as the length of employment and positions held throughout that term is essential in establishing the long-term stress on the hands based on specific job responsibilities and the rate at which employees are required to work.
Proving the Injury
Just as in a personal injury civil claim, the claimant in a workers’ compensation case must prove that they are injured in many instances when carpel tunnel is the claimed injury. This is accomplished through presentation of medical records from treating physicians and medical professionals that provide a diagnosis and prognosis for the injury. The prognosis is typically more important than the diagnosis, especially when surgery is required to stop the associated pain. The long-term issue with carpal tunnel is that the damage cannot be repaired, but surgery can help alleviate some of the pain and allow the hands to become at least moderately functional again. Damage is usually such that they can no longer earn a substantive gainful living at any similar position.
Determining Benefit Amount
Carpal tunnel syndrome cases are sometimes complicated relating to the amount of workers’ compensation benefit and how it is calculated. The workers’ compensation system is designed to exempt employers from general damages for pain and suffering for claimants who have a valid workplace injury. However, employers that can be proven to fail in their responsibility to comply with OSHA rules and regulations or do not provide a reasonably safe work environment can still be sued for negligence in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. The exemption only applies in cases of solid employer compliance with all industry standards. This can be problematic for construction industry employers who force workers to use substandard and often ineffective equipment. Benefits typically include recovery for all medical bills associated with the injury, including rehabilitation in carpal tunnel claims, along with a percentage of their rate of pay at the time the injury occurred. Those who can continue to work in other positions with reduced pay may also be reimbursed for the differential.
Why Experienced Legal Representation is Imperative with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Claims
Carpal tunnel is the prime example of how repetitive stress injuries occur and are claimable in the workers’ compensation system. Even then, they are always fought strongly by both employers and workers’ comp insurance providers. Both want to reduce injury payouts as much as possible, and their argument is usually based on the lack of an accident report or personal fault on some level. Even evidence of having a second job can reduce claim settlements when an employer is successful in proving their assertions in defense. Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared for these defenses and understand how to craft a case for maximum settlement when all is said and done.
Contact Our Workers’ Compensation Law Firm
It is never a sound decision to attempt to represent yourself in a carpal tunnel injury case, especially when going up against a major corporate employer. Many corporations have internal legal teams that are in place and dedicated to defending against workers’ compensation claims of all types. They will have legal professionals representing their interests, and all injured employees seeking benefits need their own legal team as well. Call our office today and let us put our experience to work for you in your injury case – 1-800-ACCIDENT Call now and set up a free consultation with one of our experienced workers’ comp attorneys to discuss your carpal tunnel case.