Work Injury Due to Repetitive Stress

Pothitakis Law Firm represented an employee of a local automobile parts manufacturer. The employee sustained an injury to her right upper extremity based upon the repetitive activities she performed as part of her work. There was not a specific injury on a specific day, but it was a more gradual injury from doing work activities over and over. As a result of the repetitive activities, the employee underwent two surgeries on her right upper extremity. Despite those surgeries, her pain and discomfort continued. With the help of Pothitakis Law Firm, the client was able to be seen by a pain clinic physician who installed a spinal cord stimulator. This stimulator blocked the pain receptors in the employee’s spine. Despite the injury and surgeries, the employee was able to continue her work for the employer full duty and without restriction.

The Claimant had no restrictions from her doctor and was told to do the best she could with her pain, discomfort, and limitation. The Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier argued that the injury was solely to the employee’s right arm and therefore a very small amount of benefits would be owed for the permanent condition. The Pothitakis Law Firm took the position that the spinal cord stimulator changed the nature of the injury to one that extended beyond the right arm to the body as a whole and an assessment of the employee’s ability to work and earn a living was needed to assess the employee’s entitlement to benefits.

The Pothitakis Law Firm used a second opinion to clarify the nature of the injury. The second opinion physician set forth that the injury extended beyond the right arm and affected the nerves and the spine. Pothitakis Law Firm also argued that although the Claimant had no restrictions, she was skipping overtime because of pain and discomfort. This skipped overtime resulted in a financial loss that needed to be compensated.

After submitting the case at hearing, a Decision was ultimately entered finding that the Claimant had lost 35% of her ability to work and earn a living despite the fact that she continued to work full time and without restrictions. The Claimant was very happy with the result