When people think of injuries covered by workers’ compensation, they often think of major accidents that happen in an instant. For example, a machine may malfunction thereby crushing a worker’s arm, or a worker may inadvertently touch a live wire resulting in electrocution.
In many cases, though, work-related injuries appear more gradually. With years of typing, an administrative assistant may develop carpal tunnel syndrome. A worker responsible for routinely moving heavy equipment can put stress on his or her back, legs and hips, causing wear on these body parts and damage to spinal cord discs. In such situations, the injuries are the result of repetitive motion or trauma rather than a particular incident.
In these cases, too, the injured worker may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation laws ensure that workers who are injured on the job have financial support, regardless of who is responsible for the injuries. Workers’ comp benefits cover the costs of medical treatments and compensate injured employees for lost wages while they are unable to work.
Unlike a personal injury lawsuit where an injured person must demonstrate that his or her injuries were caused by the negligence of someone else, workers’ compensation does not consider responsibility or fault.
Under South Carolina workers’ compensation laws, the worker must demonstrate a clear causal connection between the work activities and the injuries sustained. With an instantaneous injury, this is often clear. If a worker is injured while operating machinery for work, the injury obviously has happened on the job.
With repetitive motion or trauma injuries, though, there is no definite time of injury, which can make the connection more difficult. Ultimately the worker seeking benefits bears the burden of proof and must demonstrate the connection between the work activities and the injury.
In such cases, the counsel and guidance of a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can prove invaluable. Carpal tunnel syndrome can leave a person unable to work for weeks, months or even years. In some cases the injuries are so severe that an injured person may become permanently unable to work.
If you have developed a repetitive motion or trauma injury, a lawyer who understands the workers’ comp system can ensure that your interests are fully represented and will work diligently to obtain the benefits that you need.
Contact us for a free consultation as early in the process as possible.