Eight years ago I had surgery for carpural tunnel in my left hand. At the time the surgeon felt that it wasn't bad enough in my right hand to do surgery. I recently took a job in a plastics plant as a press operator and now my right hand is alot worse, its stays numb, with a burning sensation and pain. I have taken over the counter medication but nothing helps. I wake up all hours of the night with pain and burning in my right hand. My left one stays numb also but it isn't giving me the pain that the right one does. I just want to know if I have any legal rights under the NC workers comp laws even though this injury is prexisting.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: prexisting condition
Yes, you do have rights. As to the first employer, you may have an open claim if your rating was not paid. Also, if you had a Form 18M approved, you may be entitled to medical care. As to the new employer, aggravation of a preexisting condition is compensible so you may have a new claim for an occupational disease. Get an experienced workers comp attorney ASAP.
Re: prexisting condition
I believe you have a valid claim for each hand, to the extent your job in the plastics plant aggravated or accelerated your bilateral CTS. The injury is the exposure to the harmful repetitive motion. Any permanency rating you may have received 8 years ago will, however, likely be deducted from any recovery you make on this claim.
You need your treating doctor to say your job duties "significantly contributed" to the development of your disease and that your job in the plastics plant places you at "increased risk" of contracting the disease compared to members of the general public not similarly exposed. We usually give potential clients a questionnaire to take to the doctor to answer these questions.
Last, there are time deadlines to file your claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission once you are told by competent medical authority you have a work-related disease. A link to the NCIC can be found on our site at ncdisability.com. Good luck!
S. Neal Camak
Law Offices of George W. Lennon
Board Certified in NC Workers' Compensation Law
**PLEASE READ: The observations noted above are informational only and not legal advice. All observations apply strictly to NC law. No attorney-client relationship exists between this office and the recipient of this post or email. THANK YOU.**
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