Pennsylvania Transit Authority Cashier Wins Award of Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and a Bathroom Accident

Legal News GavelSometimes, when you’re hurt at work, it can be pretty obvious that your injury was work-related and that you potentially have a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Other times, however, the facts surrounding your injury may not be so clear. Regardless of the details of your injury, if you’ve been hurt at work, you should reach out to an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your case and make sure you are fully protecting your rights.

Nicole’s workplace injury case was actually two, one of which was somewhat unique. The transit authority cashier was visiting the restroom when she noticed a cockroach on her shirt. Not unlike many of us, Nicole freaked out, panicking, thrashing, and twisting to try to get away from the bug. The next morning, with the adrenaline long gone, the employee noticed a throbbing in her leg and a large lump on her left knee.

The cashier also had another problem:  she had begun experiencing pain and numbness in her right arm. Beginning in the fall of 2013, Nicole began seeing a doctor about both her knee and her wrist issues. Regarding the woman’s knee, the doctor diagnosed her as having suffered a work-related sprain/strain and an aggravation of a pre-existing degenerative knee condition. The doctor also diagnosed the woman with a wrist sprain/strain and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Nicole filed a claim for benefits. When you begin seeking workers’ compensation benefits, you can expect that your employer will probably have skilled experts going against you. For many workers’ compensation cases, overcoming that means making sure you have persuasive medical experts of your own.

In Nicole’s case, the transit authority had a doctor who testified that her knee problem was a result of her pre-existing degenerative condition. The employer had another doctor who testified that Nicole’s medical records indicated that she did not have carpal tunnel syndrome. If she did, the doctor opined, her symptoms would have lessened after she left work (and they had not). The employee had her doctor, who gave his opinion regarding Nicole’s work-related knee injury and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Another point that this case highlights is the importance of being truthful and consistent in your statements. The workers’ compensation judge and the Board both ruled in Nicole’s favor. The workers’ compensation judge indicated that Nicole’s case was persuasive, in part, because of “her forthright demeanor and the consistent medical histories she provided to the different physicians.” The judge also gave Nicole’s doctor’s opinion more weight because he was her treating physician.

The employer appealed to the Commonwealth Court but lost again. The employer’s unsuccessful appeal highlights how important it is to achieve a successful result at your original hearing. It is easier to defeat your employer’s appeal of your successful hearing than to appeal successfully a hearing that went in favor of your employer. Once you’ve won your hearing, it does not matter on appeal whether or not the hearing judge ignored evidence that contradicted your case; it only matters that the hearing judge had enough proof to support the findings made in your favor. Since Nicole had sufficient evidence, she was successful.

If you’ve been hurt at work, you need capable representation. Talk to the skilled Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys at Needle Law Firm. Our team can offer you the reliable representation you need. We have been providing personalized attention to our clients for many years and are here to discuss your matter with you.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling (570) 344-1266.

More blog posts:

The Medical Evidence You Need to Succeed in Your Pennsylvania Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Pennsylvania Accident Lawyer Blog, Jan. 17, 2018

How an Injured Construction Worker’s Persuasive Expert Helped Give the Worker a Successful Outcome in His Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Case, Pennsylvania Accident Lawyer Blog, Dec. 10, 2017