July 19, 2019

Employee Gets Bad Information About Legitimate Job Injury

Although Georgia’s workers’ compensation system is supposed to foster an environment where legitimately injured workers can get needed treatment and then return to work, the reality is much different.   It has been my experience that workers’ compensation practice is just about as adversarial as divorce practice.  Often justice and fair play take a back seat to “winning” and efforts by employers insurance companies to avoid paying benefits.

Case in point.  This week I received the following email from a young woman who works at a factory in north Georgia:

Where I work I have been told that carpel tunnel is not recognized as a workman’s comp injury if I wasn’t having problems with numbness before.  Is this correct?

The short answer is “no, this is not correct.”  Repetitive motion injury (often resulting in a diagnosis of carpel tunnel syndrome) is a very common work injury, especially for factory workers performing manual labor with their hands.

Any employer who tells an employee that “carpel tunnel is not recognized as a workers’ comp. injury” is either very misinformed or downright dishonest. [Read more…]

Workers Comp Claims For Wrist Repetitive Motion Injury

I work at a job where I am using a computer keyboard all day long.  Over the past few months, my right wrist started to hurt and get numb at times.  I reported my injury on November 28, 2006 to the Human Resources Manager requesting for a keyboard tray from desk.

The HR Manager told me that it was out of his hands and that I should order a tray through my manager for approval.  I asked on several occasions for the tray and my injury started to become more aggravated, so I went to his boss asking him about the status of a computer tray.  He told me that the tray was too expensive and I now needed a doctors note in order for me to receive a keyboard tray.

I went to my doctor and told him the same story and he suggested that I file a workmen’s comp claim since it was a work related injury. It was filed the first week of February with the correct injury date of November 28th  I am scheduled for surgery this Wednesday February 28th and they are now just informing me that I have to use my PTO to compensate my time off.  Now, by law if I use the 21 days from the injury date (which it has been) shouldn’t I receive full compensation?

–Alyce

Jodi Ginsberg responds:  Alyce, thanks for your question.  The law requires that you file your workers compensation claim within 30 days of the injury.  Here it looks like your date of injury was November 28, but you did not file your claim until the first of February.   Is your employer acknowledging that you “reported” your injury in November?

For the benefit of anyone reading this blog, employers and insurance companies use these “reporting deficiencies” all the time to deny claims.  If you get  hurt on the job, you should always try to report the claim in writing and, if possible, file a report of on-the-job injury yourself with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.

Assuming that your employer recognizes this as a workers comp injury, you ask about the 21 day rule.  The 21 days runs not necessarily from date you reported it,but rather, from date of economic disability (when you stopped working). Did you continue working after the November, 2006 “injury date?”

By the way, if your injury did not “happen” on a specific day but was the result of months or years of overuse, then the injury date you choose is called a “fictitious injury date.”  In cases involving these types of “overuse” injury, it is even more important for the injured claimant to file his own Form 14 notice on injury with the State Board.