North Carolina workers often experience pain due to the overuse of certain body parts. For some people, overuse pain can be permanent and even debilitating. Some workers feel dull aching pain, while others describe more pinching, stabbing pain. Regardless, workers’ comp may cover those conditions, so it is important to seek help and know what to look for.
Body parts commonly affected by overuse are the hands, wrist, elbow, shoulder, and back. Also, certain employees, such as technicians who operate foot-operated machines, may experience overuse pain in the ankles and feet. In some cases, overuse pain is merely temporary and will subside without treatment. However, if the pain does not go away, worsens with time, or starts to limit your activities, then you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney to learn your rights.
If the overuse injury is covered as a compensable condition, then the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires the workers’ compensation insurer to pay for all related medical treatment likely to provide a cure or give relief. This means that even if the condition cannot be treated by surgery, the insurer must pay for doctor-recommended treatment such as pain management or rehabilitation if that treatment is likely to lessen the pain and give relief.
In addition to medical benefits, the Workers’ Compensation Act requires the insurer to pay the worker disability benefits when the compensable condition causes a disability, meaning an inability to work. In some cases, workers experiencing overuse injuries cannot work at all. In that case, they are entitled to “temporary total” benefits. Other times, they can return to part-time work or light-duty work. The amount of required disability benefits depends on the wages being earned in the year before the injury occurred.
Sometimes overuse pain is classified as an injury, and sometimes as a disease. The legal strategy your lawyer will use to pursue your workers’ compensation claim most likely will depend on your specific medical diagnosis, as well as doctors’ answers to certain legal questions. A specialist workers’ compensation attorney at Ricci Law Firm can explain the importance of getting the right diagnosis.
The distinction is especially important in determining if a claim was filed on time. For an injury claim involving a specific traumatic incident or injury by accident, the employee should notify the employer right away, or as soon as possible. For a disease claim, it is always best to notify the employer immediately, but the employee has no duty to report the condition until he or she learns from the doctor that the condition is related to work. Whether the claim is filed as an injury or disease, a Ricci Law Firm attorney can explain deadlines and reporting requirements.
If you believe you are suffering from overuse pain, contact a workers’ compensation attorney at Ricci Law Firm.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer serving Greenville and Raleigh
I’m Brian Ricci, a workers’ compensation lawyer serving Greenville and Raleigh. If you or a loved one has sustained an injury at work, please call me at (252) 777-2222 or 800-387-6406 for free, friendly advice.
I am a longtime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Founder of the leading personal injury website: http://www.riccilawnc.com/personal-injury/