Common Workers' Compensation Injuries in Oregon
Our experienced workers' compensation attorney in Oregon can help you with your workers' compensation benefits.
Workers' Compensation Injuries and Occupational Diseases
Every claim begins with an injury or occupational disease. Generally speaking, injuries result from a specific occurrence, such as falling or lifting too much. Occupational diseases, on the other hand, develop gradually with time due to the worker's job activities like repetitive typing or exposure to loud noise. Workers' compensation experts frequently refer to this as the "mechanism of injury," which simply means how the injury occurred or occupational disease developed. The legal distinction between an injury and occupational disease can be important. For this reason, Goin Law Group, an Oregon workers compensation attorney, recommends that injured workers explain the mechanism of injury to their attending physician during the first consult and when seeing a new specialist.
Some workers' compensation injuries and occupational diseases are more common than others. Neck, back, shoulder, knee, foot and hand injuries are frequently seen. Hearing loss, carpal tunnel syndrome and epicondylitis are also common occupational diseases. Legal assistance is recommended following an injury, regardless of the mechanism, to ensure that the correct condition has been accepted, appropriate medical treatment is being authorized and time loss is being paid. Call today to schedule a free consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney.
Many workers' compensation claims begin as a sprain, strain or contusion. When the worker's condition fails to improve with time and conservative treatment, they are shocked to receive a more serious diagnosis for a condition they have never heard of and do not really understand. Fear and uncertainty about the prognosis for their recovery only serve to increase the worker's anxiety and feelings of isolation.
Although a diagnosis may initially feel intimidating, some injuries and occupational diseases are much more common than others and are routinely treated in the workers' compensation system.
Back and Neck Injuries
The spine is broadly divided into three sections. The first section begins at the base of the skull and extends to the shoulders. This section is referred to as the cervical spine. Injuries to this area of the body usually result from the neck being forcefully twisted, pushed, moved in a repetitive manner or held in a fixed position for extended periods. Common mechanisms of injury include whiplash from an automobile accident, sitting at a computer for extended periods of time, and direct blows to the head or neck. Cervical injuries usually begin with a diagnosis of cervical sprain, cervical strain, neck sprain or neck strain. If the injury is serious, a cervical disc herniation, bulge, protrusion or annular tear may also be present. In the event a disc injury occurred, radiculopathy or radiculitis may also be diagnosed by the attending physician. These conditions are serious and may require surgery, such as a discectomy, laminectomy or fusion. Insurers frequently accept disc injuries as simple strains or sprains then deny authorization when surgery is requested. An experienced Portland workers' compensation attorney can assist you with identifying the correct diagnosis for your case and requesting acceptance of those conditions.
The second section of the spine extends from the shoulders to the lower back and is called the thoracic spine. Thoracic spine injuries are less common than cervical injuries, and usually result from being forcefully twisted or lifting too much weight. Thoracic sprains and strains are typically diagnosed for most work injuries involving the thoracic spine. Disc injuries are also possible and may result in a thoracic disc herniation, bulge, protrusion or annular tear. If a thoracic disc injury has been identified, radiculopathy or radiculitis may also be present. As with cervical disc injuries, insurance companies frequently accept a sprain or strain without accepting the injured disc.
The third section of the spine runs through the lower back and is referred to as the lumbar spine. Low back or lumbar injuries are amongst the most common work injuries experienced by workers in Oregon. Like cervical and thoracic injuries, most lumbar injuries are initially diagnosed as a lumbar sprain or lumbar strain. If the condition fails to resolve with time and conservative treatment, your physician may also consider the possibility of a lumbar disc herniation, bulge or protrusion, in which case radiculopathy or radiculitis may also be present. As with cervical and thoracic injuries, insurers frequently attempt to limit the scope of acceptance to a sprain or strain. Most workers do not realize their disc injury has not been accepted until surgery, such as a a discectomy, laminectomy or fusion, is denied. The worker is then typically forced to litigate their entitlement to benefits, resulting in months or years of ongoing litigation before they can finally undergo surgery. Early intervention can help to limit this wait. Goin Law Group recommends speaking with a knowledgeable Portland workers' compensation attorney if your disc injury has not been accepted.
Some workers develop shoulder conditions from repetitive work, others injure their shoulder during a fall or when their arm is unexpectedly pulled. A majority of arm injuries are initially diagnosed as should sprains or strains. Advanced diagnostics, such as an MRI or MR Arthrogram, may later reveal a rotator cuff tear, biceps tendon tear, infraspinatus tear, supraspinatus tear, subscapularis tear, labral tear or SLAP tear. Shoulder injuries are painful and may lead to permanent work restrictions. Some workers are simply unable to return to the job at injury following a severe shoulder injury. Surgery is also common for partial or full rotator cuff tears, labral tears and SLAP tears. Many workers are surprised when the insurance company denies authorization for surgery because the claim was only accepted for a shoulder sprain or strain, often resulting in extended litigation. Goin Law Group recommends consulting with an experienced Oregon workers' compensation attorney early in the case to ensure that your claim has been accepted for the right conditions.
Knee injuries are frequently associated with falls, twisting while standing, or repetitive walking or standing on hard surfaces. Like most on the job injuries, a majority of knee injuries begin with a diagnosis of knee sprain or knee strain. Advanced diagnostics, such as an MRI or MR Arthrogram, may later identify a meniscus tear, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear, or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tear. Like shoulder injuries, knee injuries are painful and may also lead to permanent work restrictions. Surgery is also common and many injured workers do not realize their claim was only accepted for a strain or sprain until the attending physician's surgery request is denied. Meeting with an attorney early on in the claim can help to avoid months or years of litigation after a surgery request is made. Call an experienced workers' compensation lawyer today to discuss your claim.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is commonly referred to as an occupational disease that develops gradually over time from repetitive hand and wrist motions. Independent Medical Examiners frequently claim carpal tunnel syndrome develops as the result of idiopathic factors, such as an individual's age, weight and gender. Other doctors feel this condition is more likely caused by work, such as repetitive typing or forceful gripping and grasping. Workers should always discuss this condition with their physician to see if it may have been caused by their work activities. If so, the worker should file a claim immediately.
Epicondylitis is another common occupational disease associated with repetitive use of the elbow. As with carpal tunnel syndrome, most Independent Medical Examiners are quick to relate this condition to idiopathic factors. Your attending physician, however, may believe this condition is work related. Workers should always discuss this condition with their physician to see if it may have been caused by their work activities. If so, the worker should file a claim immediately.
Hearing loss is another common occupational disease that frequently develops from ongoing noise exposure while at work. Many hearing loss claims are filed while the worker is still working or after they recently retired. Insurers and Independent Medical Examiners frequently point to a condition known as "presbycusis," which is an age related hearing loss, when attempting to deny a claim. For this reason, Goin Law Group recommends filing your hearing loss claim as soon as your hearing loss is discovered.
Common Work Injury Claims in Oregon
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Talk to Our Experienced
Oregon Workers' Comp Lawyer
Nathan Goin began his career as a claims examiner for one of the major workers' compensation insurers in Oregon. Through this experience, he learned firsthand how workers' compensation insurers view injured workers, manage their claims, value settlements and, ultimately, attempt to close claims while paying as little as possible. Nathan's legal career now focuses on fighting for the rights of injured workers to ensure that they receive the benefits they deserve.
We understand how difficult the workers' compensation process can be for an injured worker. Goin Law Group values every client and will work tirelessly to maximize your benefits. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Oregon workers' compensation attorney today. Call now for assistance with your claim. You don't have to do this alone.