Are Invisible Injuries Actually a Myth in Work Accidents?
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Fri Mar 2017
- Work Injury,Workers Compensation,
No doubt you already know this. Invisible injuries are a reality. They may not show up on x-rays or MRIs. However, there is no question that someone can be hurt at work and not show noticeable signs of harm.
The most visible injuries include those that require casts for broken bones. Chronic neck and back pain can also be questioned by some employers and their insurers. Neuropsychiatric issues may be disputed. Unfortunately, some cynics are quick to think that invisible injuries are imaginary claims. Often, nothing is further from the truth.
Invisible Hazards and Occupational Exposure
It’s not just that injuries may not automatically surface. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers excellent resources concerning hidden hazards in the workplace. Consider the exposures experienced by many construction workers. Of course, there can be issues with materials they can see. However, what is more, frightening are invisible vapors and gasses. Injuries from these substances may not even surface until years after the exposure.
Employees of all types may be required to lift heavy materials. Over an extended period of time, they may develop neck and back injuries. Some insurance companies may claim that the claimant is faking their injuries. After all, diagnostic testing may come back negative. However, that does not mean that an injured employee should be denied medical treatment for work-related injuries.
A work-related injury does not have to be a physical one to constitute a workers’ compensation claim. Here’s an example. The federal government recognizes post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) as a disability for veterans. PTSD might seem invisible to civilian or local government employers. However, that does not make it any less of a compensable injury under New Jersey workers’ compensation statutes.
Consider the plight of a firefighter who is unable to rescue someone from a building. They may suffer burns. However, what about the emotional issues? Are they not work-related as well?
Just because there isn’t objective testing to determine the viability of a psychiatric claim doesn’t mean it cannot be pursued. You should consider consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine the feasibility of seeking workers’ compensation benefits for your neuropsychiatric issues.
Trauma and Invisible Injuries
When most people think of work-related injuries, they think of traumatic events. A slip and fall at work can cause more than knee problems. For someone with preexisting injuries, it can create other unforeseeable injuries. Your attorney may ask suggest a consultation with a medical provider to determine the correlation to your work-related accident.
Hurt at Work?
At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo, we understand the challenges of invisible injuries. We can discuss your claim with you and provide you our legal opinion concerning you believe your work-related injuries. Contact us to set up a meeting.