You may already know that you can claim workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured at your job in South Carolina. But did you know that this extends to injuries caused by repetitive and frequent tasks? Many workers develop serious and painful medical conditions, such as tendonitis, bursitis, or carpal tunnel syndrome, among other injuries. Employers may tell you that these are not “injuries,” so you can’t be compensated. In many cases, however, this is simply not the case.
Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can often help you collect benefits for these types of injuries, which are commonly known as “repetitive traumas.”
South Carolina Law Regarding Repetitive Trauma Injuries
South Carolina law defines a repetitive trauma as: “gradual in onset” and “caused by the cumulative effects of repetitive traumatic events.” (See South Carolina Rev. Statutes, Section 42-1-172).
While these injuries can be a bit more difficult to prove, they are indeed compensable under the law. However, there are some specific steps that make these cases different.
How Are Repetitive Trauma Cases Different From Other Workplace Accidents?
There are distinct differences that you will need to deal with in order to be compensated for injuries caused by a routine or repetitive task.
When you fall or get struck by an object, your statute of limitations begins to run at the time of the injury. It is clear the date and time when you were hurt. With a repetitive trauma case, it can be more difficult to determine when exactly the “injury” took place. The law requires you to give written notice to your employer within 90 days of discovering the medical condition that you believe was caused by your employment. Those 90 days begins with the discovery or the date on which you should have known about the condition upon reasonable diligence.
This can often be a source of much litigation and argument. After all, what constitutes “reasonable diligence?” In general, the test depends on what a reasonable employee would do. If you were having severe pain that required you to take time off work, the workers’ compensation commission will likely find that a reasonable person would seek medical attention. Therefore, a good rule of thumb would be to begin counting 90 days from the date on which you began to suffer serious and noticeable symptoms that led you to seek medical attention.
You must be able to prove that there is a strong causal connection between the medical condition and the specific task you believe led to the development of that condition. For instance, if you believe operating a certain tool caused carpal tunnel syndrome, then be prepared to prove the scientific connection.
In order to prove that your injury was caused by your job, you will need a qualified and licensed medical physician to render such an opinion based on a “reasonable degree of medical certainty.”
Call a Lowcountry Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
If you’ve suffered a painful injury due to a repeated task at work, call the David Aylor Law Offices to speak with someone free of charge. We will happily listen to you, discuss your case, and offer recommendations about how to proceed in order to protect your interests. There’s no charge for the call, as we only get paid if we can help you recover compensation for your injury. So call today to get started.
David Aylor is a Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Charleston, Walterboro, and Myrtle Beach, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 11 years. David Aylor believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.