When most people think of workers compensation claims, they envision a construction worker who injured his back lifting a heavy object, or a warehouse employee who slipped on an improperly marked surface. But some of the most severe and debilitating injuries are those that happen incrementally, over time.
These types of injuries are referred to as repetitive stress injuries, or RSIs, and include everything from the development of carpel tunnel syndrome to osteoarthritis. If you fear you might be suffering from a RSI, you need to contact an attorney before you visit your doctor or report it to your employer.
The following illustrates three ways a workers compensation attorney can help those who have suffered a repetitive strain injury at work:
Making The Most Of Your Physician's Examination
One of the reasons it is important to consult a qualified workers compensation attorney when dealing with repetitive strain injuries is to ensure a productive visit to the doctor's office. Although most physicians are well aware of what to look for when assessing the degree of your injury, a workers compensation attorney can provide a detailed list of what you need to give you the best chance of success in your claim.
Some of the procedures you want to make sure your doctor performs include Phalen's maneuver and Tinel's sign. Both are simple tests that involve positioning one's hands in various configurations and assessing the level of discomfort or tingling that each produces. These are established medical diagnostic tests that are extremely important in the process of filing a workers compensation claim.
More Advanced Testing
You might also want your physician to assess your condition using nerve conduction velocity testing, electromyography, or an MRI. These procedures are more complex and involve expensive diagnostic equipment, and the costs represent expenses that not all insurance providers will cover.
Electromyography tests and MRIs detect nerve damage, and can be very persuasive when filing a workers compensation claim. Still, you want to contact your health insurance provider before requesting these kinds of tests. If they fail to show significant trauma, you may be stuck with a large medical bill and nothing to show for it.
Accurately Explaining The Injury
Physicians cannot read their patients' minds, so it is important to provide them with a detailed description of the extent of your injury. Simply stating that your hands hurt doesn't give a doctor a whole lot to work with, which is why it's important to describe your pain and discomfort in details.
You need to relay to your doctor the precise movements and bodily positions that produce pain. For instance, if your hands only hurt when your wrists are higher than your elbow, or lower, you need to say so.
Details like these can go a long way towards ensuring your workers compensation claim is approved as it demonstrates a specific and reproducible symptom. Without them, the review board may conclude that your injury is the result of some extraneous activity.
Without a workers compensation lawyer to ensure that visits to the physician are productive, that specific tests are performed during those visits, and that your injury is described in entail, you may have difficulty in securing workers compensation benefits. To learn more, contact a company like Malone & Atchison with any questions or concerns you have.