Many people unintentionally torpedo their own injury claims when they give statements to insurance adjusters. Work-related repetitive stress injuries are a good example. Unless your pain has an ascertainable starting point, as outlined below, claims examiners in Virginia will almost always deny your application.
Workers’ compensation is unavailable for repetitive stress injuries, such as back pain, knee pain, and CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). Many of these injuries require extensive surgery to correct.
If you experienced such an injury, it’s important to team up with a Richmond work accident lawyer right from the start. A lawyer knows more than what evidence to present. An attorney knows how to present this evidence in a way that maximizes your compensation. In job injury claims, this compensation usually includes lost wage replacement and medical bill payment.
Filing a Claim
Job injury victims must immediately file written claims. Depending on the policy, most victims only have ten days to file. So, even if your injury might have involved repetitive stress, notify your supervisor straight away.
However, also depending on the policy, you can typically amend your claim later. In these cases, it’s usually best to initially describe the injury in vague terms. With the help of a work injury lawyer, you can add details later.
Do not speak with a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster about your claim. Telephone adjusters seem nice, but they are trained to extract damaging information from job injury victims. For example, in repetitive stress claims, they usually ask open-ended questions. Furthermore, they never prompt the victim to give the pain a starting point.
At some point, the insurance company will want your statement, and they have a right to demand it. You also have a right to speak with your attorney before you make such a statement.
The Starting Point of Repetitive Trauma Injuries
All pain begins somewhere. At some point, the victim feels or hears what we refer to as a “snap, crackle, or pop.” Sometimes, the indication is so subtle that the victim must work to remember the starting point. But it’s almost always there.
If your pain has a concrete starting point, and, more importantly, if your claim reflects that starting point, you are typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits even if your condition is normally associated with repetitive trauma.
These benefits usually include lost wage replacement and medical bill payment. Usually, these benefits are available for up to 500 post-injury weeks in Virginia.
In Virginia, repetitive stress injuries are really aggravation injuries. This aggravation could be work or non-work-related.
As for work-related aggravations, most victims do not run to the doctor the first time they feel a twinge in their backs. Instead, they try to tough it out, sometimes for many weeks or months. If subsequent work-related acts, especially lifting, aggravate the work injury, full compensation is usually available.
Generally, full compensation is also available if a non-work or pre-existing condition aggravated the work-related injury. For example, Michael might hurt his back at work and aggravate the injury when he picks his small child up off the floor. Victims like Michael must simply prove that a job injury accelerated, aggravated, or exacerbated their pre-existing or non-work condition.
Call Today to Get Started
Repetitive stress injuries are difficult to classify in Virginia. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Richmond, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates, P.C. We routinely handle matters in Richmond County and nearby jurisdictions.