Chicago carpal tunnel lawyer advice

We get a ton of calls and e-mails from people who are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.  There is a lot to know if you have injury.  Here are 10 things I think are important.

 

  1. Carpal tunnel is usually a result of repetitive trauma, often from typing or working on an assembly line, but a single incident can cause it to.  We’ve helped a lot of people who were diagnosed after falling on to their palms for example.
  2. To test for carpal tunnel, a doctor will typically order a test called an EMG.  It’s an exam that sends minor shock waves through you.  I’ve had it and while it’s not the most comfortable thing I’ve ever done, it’s over fairly quickly.
  3. If you have to have a surgery, CTS surgery is probably the safest you can have.  I’d estimate that 90% of the people I’ve seen have this operation are as good as new within 4-6 weeks and you don’t usually need much physical therapy.
  4. There is no set amount of time you need to be on the job and working before you can bring a workers’ compensation claim in Illinois for carpal tunnel.  Sometimes people get it after a couple of weeks, other times the body breaks down after many years of service.
  5. However, the longer you wait to bring a claim after you’ve stopped working, the harder it is to prove that your injuries are work related.  In other words, if you quit your job on June 1st and don’t see a doctor for problems with your wrists until September 1st, it would be really hard to prove that your job duties caused your injuries because theoretically your pain should have improved once you stopped working.  Moral of the story is that if you are in pain you need to got to the doctor.
  6. Pregnancy, diabetes and obesity are three common contributors to carpal tunnel, but having any of these doesn’t mean you don’t have a case.  The law is that if your job causes, aggravates or accelerates your problems then you should get work comp benefits.
  7. There are a lot of hired gun doctors for the insurance company that will always state that typing doesn’t cause carpal tunnel problems.  These opinions are based on one study from the Mayo Clinic.  Fortunately, most of these doctors have no credibility because they treat every case the same.  So usually we are able to beat them at trial.
  8. The big symptoms are pain in the wrists and/or numbness and tingling in your fingers.  If this is happening to you, get to a doctor ASAP.  Orthopedic hand surgeons are usually the best choice.
  9. We see a lot of injuries when you increase your workload.  It can happen even with just a few extra hours of work.  But make sure your increased workload isn’t really you surfing the internet or playing video games at home.  That’s a great way to kill a case.
  10. Believe it or not, some of these cases are actually neck injuries and other times, a neck injury is really carpal tunnel.  The EMG test can help sort that out as can a MRI.

 

And of course there’s a lot more to know.  If you have any questions feel free to contact us at any time.

Can Lying On A Job Application Ruin Your Work Comp Case?

A reader asks: I’m trying to get workers’ compensation for carpal tunnel. When I applied in 2011 for the job, I did not mention that I had a carpal tunnel problem back in 2002. The application question was “have you had prior injuries to your neck, back, arms, legs, hands, etc.” I simply forgot about it because it was so long ago and I haven’t had any problems since. Does this disqualify me for workmans comp?

It’s never a good idea to lie, but in this case it doesn’t appear that the worker lied, but instead just forgot. Either way, it should not at all disqualify you from receiving Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

The real question is did your job cause, aggravate OR accelerate your medical problem. Even if there was something pre-existing, it doesn’t matter. If this guy was treating for carpal tunnel when he got hired, he’d have a hard time winning his case. But if you are healthy and then get worse from doing your job, that should be a case that you win every time.

Now I’m not a labor lawyer and maybe they can fire this guy for lying on a job application (although that would be really weak). But there is no way this case should be denied and I suspect that if he hires a lawyer who knows what they are doing, the problem will soon be solved

We are workers' compensation attorneys who help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

3/17/12

Parking lot injury denied for not "arising out of employment"

We’ve written before that your claim can be denied if the risk that caused your injury is one that the general population faces, rather than one you uniquely face because of your employment.

A classic example of this rule is the insect bite case. If you get bitten and injured by a poisonous spider at work, your claim can be denied unless you prove that you were at a greater risk for the spider bite because of your employment. A typical office worker would have trouble proving this. Someone who leads tours through a wooded area with lots of spiders, however, would have an easier time showing that they were more at risk than the general public.

A recent slip and fall case in Illinois brought up this same point. A worker filed a claim against her employer after falling on an uneven gravel surface in the parking lot of the medical center where she worked. She was on break, but that wasn’t an issue because she remained on-call during her lunch break and could be called back at any time.

Her claim was denied because falling on the uneven surface in the parking lot wasn’t related closely enough to her employment. In order for an injury to “arise out of and in the course of” the employment, a worker has to be at a greater risk from the dangerous condition than the general public. The arbitrator ruled that she was not at a greater risk of tripping on an uneven surface than the general public. Also, any member of the public could walk through or park in the lot.

Not every parking lot injury would be denied like this one. If you can prove that you were at greater risk – because the parking lot or specific spots were reserved for employees, for example – you might get a better outcome. This is just one example, which goes to show how much the facts of each individual case can affect the end result.

In another recent case, a child welfare worker was injured in the restroom while on a bathroom break. Someone called her name, and in reacting to being called she ran into a garbage can and fell. Her job required her to answer urgent phone calls and the office was understaffed that day. She testified that she assumed she was being called by her co-worker to take an urgent call. In this case, the worker was awarded benefits because the situation she found herself in was closely related to her employment.

Yet another recent case was about a cashier who worked in the front of a business next to large windows. She was injured by an out-of-control vehicle that smashed into the building. Because she was required to work in the front of the store near the large windows, she was at greater risk of being hit by an out-of-control vehicle than a member of the general public. She was awarded benefits, as well

We are workers' compensation attorneys who help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

2/20/12

Illinois carpal tunnel attorney information you need to know

Just got notes from a seminar on the changes to Illinois workers' compensation laws that happened in June.  We have all been operating on the assumption that these laws don't go in to effect until September 1st.  That's true for most cases except for carpal tunnel claims.

For carpal tunnel, as of June 28th the new laws apply when it comes to your settlement.  So the most you can get for an injury after that date is 15% loss of use of your hand or 30% if you have permanent restrictions.   The payment is also based off of 190 weeks of disability instead of 215 weeks as was the law before.

We just signed up a new carpal tunnel case the other day that will have a July accident date so these new rules will apply.  It remains to be seen how Illinois insurance companies are going to play this out, but it is our position at this time that cases where surgery is performed should be worth 15% loss of the hand if a full recovery is made. 

You can bet that insurance companies will try to low ball claimants.  Not everyone needs an attorney, but if you want full value for your case, we think the only way to get it will be with a lawyer who is threatening trial if the insurance company doesn't do the right thing.

Stay tuned.  We will provide more comments on the law as it develops.

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

Illinois carpal tunnel attorneys

There was a study done a few years ago by the Mayo Clinic that said typing doesn't cause carpal tunnel syndrome.  Although this study has been mostly rejected it has been used to deny cases.  There is one "independent medical examiner" that does a lot of work for insurance company who writes reports all of the time that says a typist's injuries didn't play any role in their carpal tunnel.

This is, of course, a bunch of non-sense.  The law is clear that if your job plays any role in your injury, including carpal tunnel, your case should be covered.   To imply that typing 70-80% of your day didn't at least aggravate a problem is absurd.

The good news is that most Arbitrators reject the findings of this well known company doctor and award benefits when your treating doctor is in your corner.

When looking for an Illinois carpal tunnel attorney, whether it's via us or someone else, make sure that your lawyer has handled a ton of similar cases.  If you are diabetic, obese, pregnant or have a thyroid problem your case will probably be contested.  A carpal tunnel lawyer that knows what questions to ask your doctor can be the ultimate difference between winning and losing your case.

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

Illinois carpal tunnel lawyer thoughts on filing after you no longer work

In some odd coincidence, I recently had two calls within 24 hours from two people that had very similar situations.  Both had worked for a company where they did a lot of repetitive work.   Both took a leave of absence for reasons not related to a job injury.  Both said that they had problems in their hands and wrists before they left, but never told their employer.  Both finally went to a doctor around six months after the last day worked.  Both now wanted to pursue an Illinois workers' compensation claim.

Unfortunately I couldn't help either of them.  It's possible under Illinois law to file a case for an injury even when you are no longer working for your company.  It's also possible for you to bring a case if you don't go to the doctor until after you are no longer working.  In one case a worker waited two weeks before seeing their doctor.  The Illinois courts have said though that the longer you wait the harder it is to prove that a repetitive trauma injury is related to your previous job.

In these cases six months had gone by.  They might testify credibly and honestly that their hands have bothered them the whole time, but the counter to that would be "why didn't you go to the doctor and why didn't your problem get better when you were no longer working the repetitive job?"  That's a hard defense to beat and we don't think any Arbitrator would rule in their favor.  On top of that there is a possible defense if they didn't notify their employer within 45 days of when they thought they had a problem with their hands.

We don't tell people what they want to hear, but we do always tell the truth.  The truth is that these cases just aren't winners.

 

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.


 

Wheaton workers compensation lawyers- an overview of the DuPage County workers compensation hearing location

Like most attorneys that focus their practice on representing injured workers in Illinois, we don't just handle cases in Chicago.  In fact with our state-wide network of like-minded attorneys, we can help people anywhere.  Here is a brief overview of the workers' compensation hearing location in Wheaton.

The hearing location takes place in the DuPage County Government Center at 421 N. County Farm Road.  Your case will be heard there if you were injured in DuPage County or hurt out of state while working for a company that is based out of DuPage County.

Currently there are two Arbitrators that hear trials in DuPage County for work injuries, Arbitrator Erbacci and O'Malley.  Each of them hears cases for one week out of the month.

Although the hearing location is in Wheaton, you will find that most of the attorneys are not from DuPage County work injury law firms.  Instead the great majority of lawyers are actually based out of Chicago.  Unlike divorce or criminal defense, you might actually hurt your case by hiring a local lawyer.  The most important thing is that they and their firm regularly appear before each of these Arbitrators and focus their practice on Illinois workers' compensation claims.

Injuries in any of the following cities will result in your case being heard at the DuPage County hearing site:

ADDISON
BENSENVILLE
BLOOMINGDALE
BURR RIDGE
BUTTERFIELD
CAROL STREAM
CLARENDON HILLS
DARIEN
DOWNERS GROVE
DUPAGE COUNTY (WHEATON)
ELMHURST
GLEN ELLYN
GLEN ELLYN HEIGHTS
GLENDALE HEIGHTS
HINSDALE
ITASCA
LISLE
LOMBARD
MEDINAH
NAPERVILLE
OAK BROOK
OAK BROOK TERRACE
ONTARIOVILLE
ROSELLE
VILLA PARK
WARRENVILLE
WESTMONT
WESTON
WHEATON
WILLOWBROOK
WINFIELD
WOOD DALE
WOODRIDGE

 

Remember, even though the hearings take place at the courthouse, this is not a lawsuit.  Rather it is a claim for benefits.

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

4 quick tips if you think you have a repetitive trauma injury

1. If your hands, back, arm or whatever is hurting is more than just an ache, get to a doctor.  Often these injuries can be cured with prompt medical care.

2. When you see your doctor make sure that you give a very detailed description of your job activities.  To win a repetitive trauma case like carpal tunnel, herniated disc, De Quervain's, etc. you need an opinion from a credible physician that your job played a role.

3. Inform your employer as soon as possible.  If you don't let your employer know about your problem in time, your case might get dismissed.

4. If you have work restrictions, follow them.

 

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

If I have a repetitive trauma injury, when is my accident date?

Every case that is filed at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission requires an accident date.  It's clear cut when you hurt yourself lifting a box, but if you have carpal tunnel or another repetitive problem then it's not so obvious.

The law states that the accident date is supposed to be the day that the injury manifests itself (when the condition became apparent).  That has been liberally interpreted and often is held to be the first time that the worker sought medical treatment for the problem or the first time that someone suggested that the problem is work related.

As a worker, it's very important that as soon as you know of a problem you tell your employer because you are supposed to report an accident within 45 days of when it happened.  Failure to do so could cause a legitimate case to be dismissed.

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

Carpal tunnel can occur even if you've only worked for a few days

Writing that title actually makes me feel odd because it comes off as if we are encouraging someone to file a case.  We only take legitimate cases with serious injuries that are backed up by medical evidence.  We also follow case law updates and use the law to help our clients.

One case from a few years back found that someone who had worked a repetitive nature job for just a couple of days and developed carpal tunnel was entitled to Illinois workers' compensation benefits.  Her doctor said that the new job activities aggravated a pre-existing condition.  Under Illinois law that is the standard to be met for proving a case.

While you can expect that if you allege an injury on the first week of the job that the insurance company and/or employer will fight you, if it's a legitimate injury supported by your doctor, we will fight back on your behalf.

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

Signing a severance shouldn't cause you to lose Illinois worker's compensation rights

We recently were called by someone who needed a Rockford carpal tunnel lawyer.  He was concerned because he has been laid off and his employer wants him to sign a severance agreement that states he will forfeit the right to pursue Illinois workers' compensation benefits or any action at the Illinois Worker's Compensation Commission.

We told him to sign the document because according to Section 23 of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, only an approved settlement contract from an Arbitrator can cause someone to give up their work injury rights.   Since this severance was not being entered into at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, we do not believe that any rights will be lost for him.

All that said, if you are offered a severance agreement and might have a work injury or any other right under Illinois or Federal law, it is extremely important that you have an attorney review that document as failure to do so could cause you to lose some rights forever.

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.