Legal Question in Workers Comp in Texas

worker comp

I am a 57 year old female and have worked for the same airline

doing intensive data entry for 25 years.I had a carpal tunnel release on my right hand in 1991 and my company acknowledge that it was worked related and it was compensable. Now I have carpal tunnel on my left hand and my workers claim was denied because of late reporting.I have had my surgery under my reg medical plan. The Hearing Officer ruled that it is job related but because I have a neck injury that also causes pain to my hand, elbow and shoulders that I had treatments on he stated that I should have know at that time. He rules that because of late reporting my company is not liable. Should I continue fighting this unjustice with an appeal? I,m afraid I can no longer perform my job according to company standards and will be cause for termination.

Asked on 6/04/07, 3:21 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Brandon Manus Manus Law Office

Re: worker comp

Preserve your rights. You have 15 days to file an appeal with the DWC appeals panel, and 40 days to file in district court after the insurance company files their response. Talk to an ombudsman or your attorney regarding a DWC appeal; appeal every disputed finding. If your injuries are severe enough, an attorney may be able to assist depending on your wages, benefits that are still outstanding, and whether you may later be eligible for Supplemental Income Benefits. Workers' Compensation law is unforgiving to those suffering from CPS.

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Answered on 6/04/07, 10:44 pm
Donald McLeaish McLeaish&Associates;, P.C.

Re: worker comp

contact a local work comp lawyer...IF you want any benefits..but contact your State rep or Senator to let claimants pay it is presently the law lets the insurer hire lawyers..but claimants can only pay a lawyer from benefits they receive and You have already no lawyer will take your case on a contingency

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Answered on 6/04/07, 9:16 am
Chuck Cowan The Law Offices of C.D. Cowan, P.C.

Re: worker comp

Your question cannot possibly be answered without more facts and a thorough review of your medical records. It is certainly possible that a neck injury could cause radicular pain in the arms and hands that is different and a part from the pain and symptomology commonly associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. A well trained and experienced orthopedic surgeon could easily differentiate the two if that is in fact what occurred in your case.

By law you have 30 days in which to notify your employer that an injury occurred on the job. In the case of an on the job repetitive Carpal Tunnel type injury, the injury is considered an "occupational injury" (a term of art) and must be reported within 30 days of when "you knew or should have known" that it was job related. Reporting an occupational injury can be very tricky, as you have no doubt seen. Legal Counsel is highly recommended VERY early on.

While Carpal Tunnel Syndrom is typically associated with reptitive trauma, it can also be associated with a specific traumatic event. Those facts would have to be outlined and sorted out on a case by case basis by a qualified physician and a lawyer.

Texas Workers Comp is very slanted in favor of the Insurance Carriers and their "selected" doctors. You can thank the pro insurance, pro business "compassionate conservatives" among us for this. This fact is only getting more obvious each legislative session. Contact your state representatives and your state senators daily about your dilemna. You are not alone. You can also report your case to a consumer group named TexasWatch on the web. They may be able to help you reach your legislators.

Bear in mind, the airline can terminate you if you can not perform your job duties. However, they cannot terminate you for discussing, filing, pursuing or litigating a Workers Compensation Claim. This law is very specific. The risk the airline runs is in not treating you and your case exactly like they treat other injury cases like yours. Any difference (like not accomodating your abilities or offering you an job you can do when they have done that for others) is some indicia that the real reason they fired you is because of your Workers Comp claim. Workers Comp cases are very complicated. So are Wrongful termination cases. You should ALWAYS speak with a competent lawyer VERY early in the matter and consider retaining their services.

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Answered on 6/04/07, 1:10 pm

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