Repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel, can be one of the more difficult worker's compensation claims to file. Before you even begin filing the paperwork, know the reasons why your claim may be denied and what you will need to do to contest a denial.
Know Your State's Laws
Not all states treat worker's compensation claims the same. Repetitive stress injuries are often classified as a disease. If your state requires mandatory coverage for both accidents and occupational diseases, your claim will be processed as normal. Unfortunately, in states where only accidents are covered, a repetitive stress issue falls under occupational disease and may not qualify for coverage. In some cases, you can have your issue classified as an injury and not a disease, which allows you to request the accident coverage.
Proving Your Claim
Many repetitive stress injuries can be caused by outside activities, so you must prove that your job was the culprit. For example, if you spend hours playing computer games at home, and only half your workday operating a mouse, your employer may claim that injury is not work related. You will need to prove that long hours doing a repetitive task are the main reasons for your injury.
Gather the Evidence
In some cases, improper workplace procedures can lead to a repetitive stress issue. Desks of the wrong height, chairs without sufficient supports, or badly spaced or enforced breaks and movement periods are just a few things your employer could have done wrong. Take pictures and list the problems. Also, log how many hours a day you spend doing the specific injury-related task. All this information helps build up your case if you need to appeal a worker's compensation denial.
See A Doctor
It's highly unlikely that any claim or appeal will stand without a medical testimony. The doctor that treats your repetitive stress injury must make it clear in their testimony that the injury was caused by work-related actions. Any vague wording can hurt your case, leaving a loophole for your employer's insurance to deny the claim.
If your claim is denied, your best option is to contact a worker's compensation lawyer has a lot of experience handling repetitive stress injury claims. They can help walk you through the denial appeal process or to take further legal proceedings, so you can get the benefits you need to cover medical bills and lost work time.