Is your job a pain? If so, you could qualify for workers comp benefits.

Is your job a pain? If so, you could qualify for workers comp benefits.

Do you ever experience wrist or elbow pain but have no memory of having injured yourself? You could be one of the thousands of people suffering from a repetitive stress injury (RSI).

Who is at risk of getting a RSI?

Various factors have the potential to cause upper limb disorders, including repetitive work, improper working posture, sustained or excessive force, or carrying out tasks for long periods without suitable rest breaks. Experts stress, RSI can lead to permanent disabilities if untreated, so it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice the signs.

In fact, the chairman of the national charity RSI Action, Steve Fisher, developed such bad RSI in his back during his career as an aerospace engineer, that he was unable to walk and was forced to take medical retirement.

He blames computer use, poor understanding of his condition by employer and doctor, and explains: “Many people are using computers at work, with a lot of mouse work, this creates a relatively heavy load on the small muscles of the lower arm and hand which also causes movement of the nerves in the arm and shoulder, and it can build up problems over time.”

Mr. Fisher’s presentation outlines several “degrees of RSI”, prevention, impact, and recovery.

1st Degree –

  • Occasional unpredictable aching
  • Simple measures should result in full recovery

2nd Degree –

  • Frequent or predictable burning, throbbing, etc
  • Further measures & treatment should result in a full recovery.

3rd Degree –

  • Constant pain and/or improper nerve sensations.
  • Strength or endurance problems.
  • Significant treatment, long partial recovery.


RSI is most common in older adults: (24%) of 41-63 year olds have had RSI, compared to (16%) of those aged 18-30.

Although repeated computer and mouse use is most often cited as the culprit, the HSE found that construction and manufacturing sectors have the highest incidence of work-related upper limb disorders, followed closely by health workers.

What are the common symptoms of RSI?

Not surprisingly, wrists are the most common trouble spots, with (69%) identifying this as the joint most likely to be affected, followed by fingers (29%), forearms (23%) and thumbs (20%). Elbows and shoulders can also be stiff or painful, and even knees and feet can suffer if your job involves large amounts of kneeling or operating foot pedals.

Some warning signs of RSI include pain or tenderness, stiffness, tingling or numbness, cramping, weakness or throbbing. There may even be swelling.


In the beginning stages, the discomfort is usually only felt when performing the action that is causing the problem. However, if no remedial action is taken, it can eventually become constant and, in some severe cases, irreversible. See your physician. Tell them about the symptoms you’re experiencing and if they recommend a medical leave from work.

You may already be diagnosed with a form of RSI and not even know it.

Repetitive stress injuries also go by several other different names, some of which you may already know you have, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, tennis or golf elbow, or bursitis. These are all examples of RSI.

While there has been a rise in RSI incidence since keyboards became part of everyday life, the condition has actually been recognized for hundreds of years.

We tend to think of RSI as a modern-day condition, but the truth is that it was first reported way back in 1700 when an Italian doctor identified more than 20 examples or RSI among musicians, clerks and other industrial workers of the period.

The high incidence of problems involving the lower arm joints is simply a reflection of the amount of time we spend using keyboards and handheld devices.

What can I do if I think I have RSI?

Modify your workspace- Affected workers should talk to their employer about ways to modify their working space to relieve symptoms and risk. Simple changes such as adjusting your chair height, adding a lumbar support pillow or even a footstool can do wonders for your posture. There are also ergonomic keyboards and cushioned mouse pads available to assist with wrist pain. Most times, your employer can order one of these things for you at no cost to you.

Rest and exercise- Simple exercises incorporated into daily routines can help prevent RSI. For example, if you’re sitting at a computer all day, be sure to take breaks often and stretch your wrist and fingers to loosen any tightness. Starting with your right hand, gently extend the fingers back one at a time, followed by taking them all back at the same time. Repeat this several times throughout the day. Read about additional exercises here.

Can I get Workers Comp for an RSI?

Most of the people that suffer from an RSI without treatment, do so because they feel as though they can’t afford to take time off of work for the injury to heal. However, you may not know that most times, a repetitive stress injury can qualify you to receive workers comp. The truth is, any injury that is directly correlated to your occupation is eligible for workers comp. Even if you have a pre-existing condition that has been aggravated or accelerated due to your occupation, you’re still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Although prevention is better than treatment when dealing with repetitive strain injury, it’s important to address any issues as soon as you notice symptoms, as they’re likely to get worse. Be aware of the risk, and if you see the first signs of aches and pains, whatever you do, don’t ignore them.

If you believe you have a repetitive strain injury, don’t wait. Contact Thomas Marchese for a free case evaluation.

My workers comp claim was denied. What do I do now?

My workers comp claim was denied. What do I do now?

After a workplace injury, you’re counting on your workers’ comp benefits to help pay your medical bills and help you get by financially until you’re able to return to work. Unfortunately, your employer (or the workers’ compensation insurance carrier) had different plans.

As with any insurance claim, there are important deadlines, rules, and exceptions that will ultimately determine if the claim is approved.

If your workers’ comp claim was denied, the first thing you need to do is determine the reason why. This should be in your denial letter as well.

Here are some common reasons for a denial of workers’ comp benefits: (This is not an exhaustive list, and an experienced Ohio workers’ comp attorney will be able to assess your case in detail.)

  • You didn’t report your injury within the deadlines given.  While you should notify your employer immediately following the injury, the Ohio statute of limitations for filing a workers compensation claim is one year.
  • No one witnessed your accident. Whether your witness was a coworker or even a surveillance video, any proof that can verify how you became injured can drastically help your case. If you know that your accident had no witnesses, it should encourage you to report your injuries to your employer immediately, and get prompt medical attention.
  • Your accident report or medical records seem suspicious. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier will be tediously going through your claim with a fine-toothed comb. If your report differs from those of your coworkers or your doctor, or if your medical records show that you had drugs or alcohol in your system at the time of the accident, it will be very difficult to get workers’ compensation benefits.
  • You refused to cooperate during the claims process. Being cautious when dealing with insurance companies is always advisable, and it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney before signing or recording any statements or documents. Often times, your signature or recorded statements aren’t required to obtain benefits, but many insurers will try to use this as an excuse to deny your claim. This is usually not a valid reason to deny a claim, and an attorney can help you sort this out in an appeal.
  • Your employer or their workers’ comp insurer made a mistake or are being difficult. Often, employees can follow procedure by the book when it comes to reporting their injuries and filing claims, but they’re still denied benefits. Whether the employer or their carrier overlooked a key detail or simply made a mistake, a workers comp attorney can help you appeal your denial if your case is sound.

 

Appealing a Workers’ Comp Denial

Now that you have a greater understanding of why your claim was denied, you may want to appeal the decision. The denial letter should provide a deadline for filing your appeal. Keep in mind that it can be a complicated legal process and best handled by an experienced workers’ comp attorney.

One of your most important rights as an injured worker in Ohio is your right to appeal a workers’ compensation claim denial. If you have been denied benefits for any reason, workers compensation attorney Tom Marchese can help. Schedule your free consultation with us today to discuss your case.

 

Alternative methods of pain relief: What injured workers should know

Alternative methods of pain relief: What injured workers should know

By now, we’re all aware of the ever worsening opioid crisis in America, and the use of medical marijuana and CBD oil as an alternative treatment for pain. But, do you know how these alternative methods will affect your workers’ comp?  

The common choice for acute pain management may include opioids, muscle relaxers, and anti-inflammatories that treat a variety of conditions from post-surgical or persistent pain to constipation or depression.  

Many of these medications don’t work well when taken together, and prolonged use can cause patients to develop a tolerance which reduces their overall effectiveness.  If you’re an injured worker, you need access to pain management alternatives that don’t involve the risk of long-term opioid use.

Both the legislature and the public at large are recognizing the need for alternative medicine, and not surprisingly, the most widely discussed option is cannabis.  Even Ohio now has medical marijuana programs.  The programs offer patients who qualify for medical care to purchase medical grade marijuana in a variety of forms.  

Cannabis therapy goes beyond the concept of smoking a “joint”.  

Medical marijuana utilized in a variety of edibles, vape oil, ointments, pill form, and in “CBD-only” form, which eliminates the substance THC thereby avoiding the common side effects associated with “getting high”.  

CBD oil is the preferred method of cannabis treatment for use in children and infants suffering from seizure disorders. In fact, in a recent study done by Dr. Orrin Devinsky for the New England Journal of Medicine shows that the use of CBD oil as a treatment for patients with severe seizure disorders had a 39% drop in the frequency of seizures.

Cannabis doesn’t just stop at treating seizures, but it’s also been effective at treating a range of problems from chronic pain to irritable bowel, anxiety and sleep deprivation.  Medical professionals are increasingly available in Columbus to help counsel injured workers on the appropriate use of cannabis as a valid, alternative treatment.

There could be legal complications.

First, many insurance companies won’t reimburse for the cost of the treatment.  This refusal could be based more on ethical or moral concerns than actual cost, since it would be hard to make the case that a naturally growing plant is more expensive than engineered synthetic pharmaceuticals.

Also, injured workers returning to employment while using cannabis may violate a company policy.  Therefore, it’s important before engaging in a treatment program to discuss with your counsel the potential legal ramifications of using a cannabis treatment.  

Whichever you decide is the right treatment for you, the prior stigma associated with cannabis use is rapidly changing.  If you’re currently undergoing pain management, don’t hesitate to consult your treating physician about your medical options, and be sure to discuss with a workers comp attorney about your legal options as well.

For more information, contact Thomas Marchese at 614-486-3249.

Can I get workers’ comp for a dog bite?

Can I get workers’ comp for a dog bite?

If you get attacked by a dog during the course of employment, you may have two causes of action; workers comp and a dog bite lawsuit.

When people think about workers’ comp claims, the most common injuries that come to mind are injuries like broken bones, machinery accidents, trip & falls or repetitive stress injuries, but any injury that occurs on the job can result in a workers’ comp claim; that includes dog bites.

Workers like mail carriers, landscapers, delivery people, or even repair people and contractors are all in danger of dog bites when performing their job duties. Fortunately, if you’re on the job at the time you’re attacked, you’re likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Under Ohio law, all companies with more than one employee are required to carry workers’ comp insurance in case of accident, injury, or disease.

When it comes to a dog bite or attack, Ohio law also allows third parties to be held liable in dog attacks. If you are performing work-related duties, and are attacked by the property owners dog, or a dog that the property owner permits on their property, the property owner may be liable for your injuries.

If you’re hurt on the job, take the following steps to make sure your workers’ compensation claim isn’t denied.

  1. Get medical treatment and notify your employer immediately of your injury. Be sure to have the doctor document any work restrictions they mandate.
  2. Ask your employer to report the injury to the Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC).
  3. Speak with a workers comp lawyer to make sure that your claim is submitted correctly and that you receive fair compensation to cover your medical bills, missed work, and financial restitution.

If you also decide to pursue a workers’ compensation case, you need a skilled attorney to help navigate through this legal maze. At the law office of Thomas Marchese, worker’s compensation claims are all we do.

Call (614) 486-3249 or use our contact form. Now is a good time.

Should you be compensated for Carpal Tunnel?

Should you be compensated for Carpal Tunnel?

RSI’s or “Repetitive Stress Injuries” like carpal tunnel are becoming increasingly common as more and more workers are restricted to their desks to perform their job over a keyboard. While the work is most likely the cause of the injury, you can’t sue your employer over carpal tunnel syndrome. Most workers are barred from pursuing a lawsuit for workplace injuries by workers compensation laws.
If you’re someone who suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome that you believe is caused by your work, it’s important to understand your state’s workers’ compensation insurance system. Workers’ comp may be your only means of receiving compensation for your work-related injury.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that is caused by the compression of the median nerve and the tendons that flex your fingers as they travel through the “carpal tunnel” in your wrist. This tunnel is very narrow, so even a small amount of swelling can compress the nerve. This compression can cause pain, weakness, and even numbness in the hand and wrist.

Although carpal tunnel syndrome can be the result of a variety of factors, including age, weight, trauma, arthritis, disease, pregnancy, etc., it can also be caused by overuse or repetitive movements of the hand and wrist. Common workplace-based examples of repetitive tasks include: 

  • Typing
  • Using a cash register
  • Pushing, slicing, or pressing objects without a sufficient break or rest period

Treating carpal tunnel syndrome could require surgery. This surgical procedure is known as carpal tunnel release. A surgeon will cut through the ligament to make more space for the median nerve and tendons. Non-surgical remedies include rest, splinting, diuretics, and steroid injections.

 

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

If you suffer a work-related injury, you’ll most likely be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are a few arguments you could encounter when it comes to carpal tunnel and other repetitive stress injuries.

 

Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome a Workplace Injury?

One of the most frequently debated issues when it comes to carpal tunnel syndrome is whether it was caused by a workplace injury or by a non-work-related factor. The employee will have the burden of proving the injury was work-related. For example, a worker may hold a second job that requires repetitive movements, or outside of work they may be an avid tennis player. In both of those instances, it could be argued that carpal tunnel syndrome developed because of those factors.

Characterizing Carpal Tunnel: Burden Of Proof

How carpal tunnel syndrome is characterized can affect your burden of proof. For example, if compensable as an occupational disease, you may have to prove by convincing evidence that the injury arose during and out of the course of employment.

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