Lesser-Known Aspects Of Workers' Compensation Programs
Workers' compensation programs in every state provide benefits for employees who are injured on the job. Everyone realizes that you can apply for workers' compensation if you have an accident in the workplace. There are several aspects of workers' compensation programs, however, that are not as well known. Here is a look at some of these lesser-known aspects of workers' compensation.
Although most workers think about workers' compensation programs in regard to accidents, such as a heavy object falling on an employee, that cause immediate and obvious physical injuries, another type of injury is relevant as well.
Some workplace injuries are not immediately obvious but take a long time to develop. Many of these conditions fall into the category of repetitive stress injuries. For example, if your job involves typing on a computer screen all day, you could develop carpal tunnel syndrome from the overuse of your hands and wrists. Other repetitive stress conditions include bursitis, lower back pain, and tendonitis.
Many jobs, in addition to typing and computer positions, can lead to repetitive stress problems. Jobs that have a significant risk for repetitive stress injuries include firefighters, pro athletes, nurses, janitors, and bus drivers. If you develop a repetitive stress injury on your job, notify your employer and file a workers' compensation claim immediately.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a medical condition that is the result of someone experiencing severe trauma. In some cases, this can happen in the workplace. For instance, emergency medical personnel or police officers might be exposed to dramatic events, such as a person's death, that can lead to PTSD. Another example is a worker who witnesses a shooting or other violent incident at their place of employment.
A critical question for those who suffer from work-related PTSD is whether the condition is covered by worker's compensation. The answer depends on the relevant laws of your state and what type of trauma you have suffered. You will almost certainly need the help of an experienced workers' compensation attorney when filing a claim based on PTSD.
Another complicated question is what happens when you have a pre-existing medical condition and then suffer an injury in the workplace. For example, suppose you have arthritis in your elbow and suffer an injury to your arm in the workplace. This could make it more difficult to file a successful claim because the employer's insurance company can argue that your preexisting condition is the real cause of your medical condition. Like PTSD claims, workers' compensation cases involving pre-existing conditions are difficult for the average worker to successfully navigate on their own. A qualified worker's compensation lawyer is needed.
For more information, talk with a workers' compensation lawyer.