Workers Comp Benefits for Auto Worker with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When people think of work-related injuries that occur at an automotive plant, they typically call to mind machinery accidents, slip and falls, or even back injuries due to heavy lifting. But it’s not just dangerous machinery or heavy labor that causes automotive work injuries. Performing the same task over-and-over day-in and day-out can also “wear out” the body – until it just can’t keep doing it anymore.
The type of “cumulative trauma” that results from doing the same motion over and over is called a repetitive stress injury. In other words, repeating the same action over months or years can lead to a serious workplace injury that can keep an employee from being able to work.
The most common repetitive stress injury (or “RSI”) is carpal tunnel syndrome. In an automotive plant, Carpal Tunnel syndrome typically results from long hours of performing repetitive tasks on an assembly line.
Proving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Automotive Workers
Unfortunately, workers’ comp benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome are often denied. This is because – unlike a slip and fall or machine accident – carpal tunnel syndrome is an injury that develops over time. So, employers, and their workers’ comp insurers, often try to place the blame for the condition on factors other than working conditions.
While workers’ compensation is supposed to cover any work-related injury or illness, the employee still has to “prove” that the injury occurred at work. With a slip and fall or a machining accident, that burden of proof is easily made. But with an injury that occurs over time, it can be much harder to “prove”.
Jury Awards Workers’ Comp to Automotive Worker for Carpal Tunnel
Recently, an employee of Honda’s Anna Engine Plant in Florida was denied her claim for workers’ compensation benefits – even though she had been diagnosed with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, (carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists). So, she and her attorneys were forced to take Honda to court.
The employee had first been hired at Honda’s automotive plant through a temp service in January 2014, but then became a full-time employee of the automotive manufacturer in September 2016. In May 2019 she was transferred to a different shift that was faster paced and required more use of gripping and vibrating tools. She was then diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in July 2019.
While the worker and her attorney argued that her carpal tunnel syndrome was directly caused by her work at Honda’s automotive plant, the company blamed the condition on the fact that she is a woman, she is in her 50s, and she has a thyroid condition – which put her at greater risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
After only one hour of deliberation, the jury found that the employee was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ Comp Attorneys for Automotive Workers
This case highlights how employers and their workers comp insurers will often try to deny paying legitimate claims. And, it also showcases the need for experienced legal representation, to ensure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.
Because employers often deny workers comp benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it is important to speak to an experienced workers’ comp attorney about your injury.
An experienced workers comp attorney can prove that your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome arose out of and in the course of your employment. They can show that as an employee you suffered a greater exposure to risks of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome than do members of the general public.
If you are an automotive worker who is suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or any work related injury or illness, call our experienced Long Beach Workers’ Comp Attorneys for a free consultation today. Our Workers’ Comp attorneys have helped hundreds of automotive workers get the workers comp benefits to which they are entitled.