An employee whose job requires repeated movement and pressure on any part of his/her body -– typically a hand, shoulder or low back – may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits in the same manner as a worker who suffers an injury in a single traumatic event such as a fall or a car accident.
Our workers' compensation attorneys successfully represented a fingerprint technologist for Cook County, whose job required continuous application of pressure on both hands as he took each finger of all new County job hires, and rolled them onto a computerized recording device. The repetitive trauma from a decade of work as Cook County’s fingerprint technologist caused de Quervain’s disease, inflammation of the tendon running from the thumb to the lower wrist. The disease causes pain that extends from the base of the thumb to the lower arm.
The key to prevailing in a repetitive trauma Workers’ Compensation claim is to demonstrate the repetitive details of the injured worker’s job to the court. The fingerprint technologist went through each of multiple steps required to do his job during trial, so the Arbitrator could see what his job entailed. When those steps, multiplied by the large number of new job hires that went through his office, were calculated, the Arbitrator was convinced that our client had injured himself on the job.
In addition to detailed testimony by the injured worker, it is important to obtain a written opinion from the treating doctor establishing causation. Getting a favorable opinion from a doctor is more likely when the doctor also understands the details of his patient’s work. So, care must be taken to explain or to show, if possible by video, the patient’s job duties.
Finally, care must be taken to rule out other potential causes of a repetitive trauma injury such as a worker’s social and recreational activities. This testimony comes primarily from the injured worker, at trial.
The Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lipkin & Apter are highly experienced handling repetitive trauma work injuries, so contact our Chicago law firm if you think you may have a case. These cases have to go to trial more often than those where an injury occurs at a single moment in time, as they are often denied by the employer and its workers’ comp insurance carrier.