According to the state’s Court of Appeals, an employee will be receiving workers’ compensation for his work-related injury in North Carolina. A worker who was injured on the job is now entitled to wage-earnings because his injury hindered his ability to work. Here’s how it happened. A man who was working as a utility/process operator for a corn products manufacturer was required to kneel down frequently on the job. After kneeling for such long periods of time, he began to feel pain while on his feet. He tried out orthotic inserts for his work boots and those didn’t help. About two years later, the man said he felt a pop in his foot when he would stand up from his kneeling position. The pop caused an immediate pain in his ankle and his foot. The pop turned to pain, which then turned to swelling. After seeing a doctor, the worker was diagnosed with tenosynovitis and ruptured or torn tendons, according to Risk & Insurance Online.
After the injury and the diagnosis, the worker was required to use a cane when he walked because of the pain in his leg and his foot. He filed an occupational disease claim. His employer tried to fight that claim, which was initially battled in the lower courts. But recently, the Court of Appeals ruled that the operator was in fact entitled to his benefits.
Our North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys understand that employers are hesitant to fork over the benefits for these kinds of injuries. In this case, the employer reportedly tried to argue that there was absolutely no evidence that the tenosynovitis was caused by the work he was required to perform. The court didn’t buy it, saying that the worker’s doctor determined that the condition was most likely caused by job requirements, specifically repetitive overuse of the knees and ankles when getting to and from the kneeling position during a span of 25-years with the company.
The court ruled that this was in fact an occupational disease, occurring from stress over many years, even though that company argued that it was the result of a single maneuver. The courts said that the tendons were worn because of they were overused for so long.
Under this ruling, the employee will receive temporary total disability benefits because the worker is unable to work because of the pain. He is currently limited as to his ability to sit, walk or stand for long periods of time.
These types of injuries, repetitive motion/strain injuries, are among some of the most common in the U.S. Some estimates conclude that there are more than 25 million people who have been to a doctor because of a repetitive strain injury of just the hand. Experts believe that there is possibly another 40 million people who have experienced the symptoms of these kinds of injuries, but failed to seek medical attention. Millions more have visited a doctor for other repetitive motion strains. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that repetitive strain injuries account for about 60 percent of all reported occupational illnesses. The annual costs for companies to cover these injuries are estimated at more than $25 billion.
Some statistics report that these accidents can cost nearly $30,000 for just lost days at work and medical expenses. For companies, when factoring in temporary help and the cost of the loss in productivity, costs can be more than $60,000 apiece. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) predict that 50 percent of workers in the country will suffer from some sort of repetitive strain injury.
If you or someone in your family has been injured or killed in a work-related accident or would like to file a disability claim, contact the Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. for help regarding your case. Call 1-800-887-1965 for a free initial consultation to discuss your rights today.
More Blog Entries:
Prevent North Carolina Office Injuries, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, February 15, 2012