The fastest-growing category of claims a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer handles involves repetitive stress injuries (RSI). An RSI is an injury most often caused by repetitive motion of a joint, overexertion, or poor positioning during work.
Even though the number of claims is rising, especially for carpal tunnel syndrome, Illinois employers are exploiting legal loopholes to deny workers compensation claims. A Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer faces four specific challenges.
Date Of The Injury and Notification Deadlines
When filing a workers’ compensation claim, workers must be able to provide a clear date when the injury occurred. In most cases, determining the date is easy; however, because RSI occurs over time, there is very rarely a clear date of injury.
Workers only have three years to make a claim for a work-related injury, and only 45 days to inform the employer that an injury occurred. Employers use the lack of a clear date to claim workers did not notify them of a claim until after the notification deadline passed.
A Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can make the claim that the date of injury coincides with the date that a reasonable person would have noticed it and complained to a doctor. So far the courts have agreed.
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Linking Job And Injury
Because an RSI can be caused by any repetitive action, employers have been able to deny many claims by questioning whether or not the injury was related to the job. The best defense against those assertions by the employer or insurance company is a doctor’s opinion of the nature of the injury. A Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer may also turn to expert ergonomic testimony to show the employer failed to provide adequate equipment support to employees
The situation becomes more complicated if the worker holds a second job with similar duties. Each employer can challenge the claims made by the employee, trying to pin liability for the injury on the shoulders of the other employer. The unclear date of injury contributes to the confusion.
Employees with pre-existing conditions are eligible for worker’s compensation if the work-related injury aggravated the condition. Employers will argue the aggravation of the injury was solely the responsibility of the employee, in an attempt to shuffle the burden of liability. Medical testimony is the primary means of fighting the employer’s assertions.
A Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer is often required in an RSI claim because of the particular challenges workers face.