Articles Posted in Musculoskeletal Disorders

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When we think about a person who is injured on the job and receiving workers’ compensation benefits, we are often thinking of any employee who suffered some type of traumatic injury while at work.  This could be when a person falls at work, or a heavy object hits them on the head, or it can even be from exposure to caustic chemicals, since a person can get workers’ compensation benefits from a work-related illness.

handHowever, one of the more common workplace injuries is often overlooked, and people do not make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits when they probably should.  This is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), which is a common type of repetitive stress injury (RSI) caused by performing the same or similar tasks on a regular basis throughout the day for many workdays. Continue reading

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According to a recent news feature from The LAist, police have intercepted drug dealers complaining of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) as a result of counting so many $1 bills.  While at first this may seem like a joke, when police busted this particular group of alleged drug dealers, they were found with over $600,000, all in singles.

wrist-pain-3-1411523While the police said they are familiar with finding small bills in the homes or offices of city drug dealers, they had never seen so many $1 bills.   They said there enough singles that even when they were banded in neat stacks, could fill the entire bed of a standard pickup truck.  When the police went to count the evidence, it took them three days, so they could actually understand why it could cause carpal tunnel syndrome.  Continue reading

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While there are a lot of cases involving denial of workers’ compensation benefits that are appealed to a United States District Court or United States Court of Appeals, most of them deal with particular factual issues. However, every once in a while, a decision about a workers’ compensation issue is made that has real impact on future cases, and that case is considered truly noteworthy.

gavel-2-1409592-mAccording to a recent news feature from The National Law Review, Fitzgerald v. Walmart is a noteworthy workers’ compensation case. The reason this case garnered so much attention is because the court held that, even though she felt a “pop” in her lower back while at work, that did not make this a work-related injury. Continue reading

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Municipality of Anchorage v. Stenseth, a case from the Supreme Court of the State of Alaska, involved claimant who had been injured at work “many years ago.” When claimant filed a request for workers’ compensation benefits, the parties eventually reached an agreement, and the parties agreed employee would waive any future benefits other than medical benefits and that employer would pay employee $37,000.

brownenvelopemoneybribe3Claimant retired in 1996 but was still receiving medical benefits in connection with his chronic pain management. However, ten years later, he was charged with multiple felony criminal charges, including selling narcotics. Some of these were prescription painkillers and were somehow related the medicine he was getting as part of his medical benefits. He eventually pleaded guilty to some of charges prosecutors had filed against him, and he spent at least some time in jail. Continue reading

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While most on-the-job accidents associated with workers’ compensation involve a single traumatic event, other types of on-the-job injuries are a result of years of repetitive stress. Some of these are more obviously work-related, such as degenerative spine disease, but can also manifest in other ways, such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

yoga-mats-1620086Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disease caused by a pinching or narrowing of the bundle of nerves with the same name as the disease. The carpal tunnel runs through the palm side of the wrist and controls movement of the fingers. When the tunnel becomes compressed, it can result in pain and numbness, weakness in the hand, and several other symptoms. Continue reading

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Even if someone has never actually seen a Cirque du Soleil performance in person, pretty much everyone is familiar with what the performance involves. Essentially, it is a circus with only human performers, meaning no animal acts, and it showcases the talent and artistry of the performers.

jugglingbalancing-2-1222378-m.jpgThere are a variety of different acts, and many of them involve a significant risk to the performers’ safety. While the performers use safety devices when appropriate, some do become seriously injured on the job and may be left without pay and must apply for workers’ compensation benefits, according to a recent article from the Wall Street Journal.

The article focuses on the story of one performer who had been with the show for a long time and played an important role in of the circus’s productions in Orlando, Florida. She was performing a flying stunt and had inadvertently forgotten to double loop her safety harness. Her co-performer did not notice the problem either, and she fell four stories from the high wire act to the stage below.
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Boeing Co. v. Dep’t of Labor & Indus., a case from the Supreme Court of Washington, involved claimant who filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits after she suffered chemical exposure during her time working for employer.

3mspraymount-138829-m.jpgChemical exposure aggravated her pre-existing asthma condition. As result of this chemical exposure, claimant requires ongoing medical treatment. After submitting her claim, the workers’ compensation department made a determination she was permanently and totally disabled. In addition to her asthma and asthma complications due to chemical exposure, claimant also had a right knee injury, which was a determined to be a contributing factor to her permanent total disability rating. She was awarded a pension based upon her disability rating.

Employer applied for what is known as second injury relief, and workers’ compensation department ordered a portion of her benefits consistent with the percentage of disability rating associated with the knee injury to be paid from a second injury fund. In other words, employer was not responsible for paying for injuries not related to chemical exposure, but claimant would still get the money to which she was legally entitled. Department also determined claimant was entitled to post-pension compensation for her ongoing medical treatment for her chemical exposure-related asthma complications, and employer would be responsible for those costs.
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In Roberts Dairy v. Billick, a case from the Supreme Court of Iowa, claimant who injured his back while working at a feed company owned by employer. This injury occurred in 1985, and claimant eventually entered into a workers’ compensation settlement with employer at an 85 percent disability rating.

tanker-truck-reflection-395160-m.jpgIn 1993, claimant was injured while working for a trucking company. He was driving a tanker truck in bad weather when he lost control and crashed. Claimant injured his neck, back, legs, arms, head, and shoulder. Claimant again filed for workers’ compensation disability and entered into another settlement with his new employer’s insurance company. This time, the parties agreed on an 18.5 percent partial disability rating for the whole body. As our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys can explain, in disability cases it is often necessary to assign a disability rating as either partial or permanent to determine what is the appropriate amount of benefits.

In 2001, claimant began working for another dairy company driving a semi-tractor trailer. This employer required claimant to drive milk products to various businesses around the region. In 2004, claimant was loading his truck with a pallet of milk crates filled with bottles when he lost control of it, and it pinned him between the pallet and truck’s loading gate, crushing his ankle. For reasons not explained, most other drivers’ trucks were loaded by others, but claimant was instructed to load is own truck. He suffered four identifiable injuries as a result of this incident and sought medical treatment.
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Many workers’ compensation cases involve a single traumatic event resulting in a temporary or permanent illness. However, workers’ compensation in Boston, and throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is also available for repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

wrist-pain-1445343-1-m.jpgAccording to a recent news article from Dayton Daily News, what often starts out as an occasional tingling in the thumb can often progress into a strange feeling of pain and numbness, that makes its hard for workers to sleep at night.

Epidemiologists estimate around six percent of all Americans will be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome at some time during their lives. This figure only accounts for those who seek medical attention and get a diagnosis. Many more will continue to suffer in silence, thinking this is just something with which they have to live for the rest of their working lives.
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Shepard v. Dept. of Corrections is a workers’ compensation appeal from the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

In 2005, claimant was working for the state department of corrections when she injured herself.

prison-1431133-m.jpgWorkers’ compensation commission for the state determined claimant injured her neck, lower back, both shoulders, and her left arm. Commissioners further found she suffered a permanent partial disability (PPD). Commissioners ordered her employer or its insurance carrier to pay for reasonably necessary future medical expenses, limited to prescription medications and four follow-up monitoring visits per year with her doctor listed on her application for workers’ compensation benefits.

The commission’s order stated either party could move for a modification at any time with a showing of good cause, and there was no limit on which medications her doctor could prescribe for her treatment. Commissioners also ordered employer or its insurance company to pay any reasonable medical expenses claimant had already incurred.
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