Builder fails to connect cervical injury to rapid repetitive work
Case name: Fitzpatrick v. Rheem Manufacturing Co. and Old Republic Insurance Co., No. CA08-1077 (Ark. Ct. App. 04/15/09, unpublished).
The Arkansas Court of Appeals upheld a finding that a manifold builder did not establish a causal relationship between his cervical spine injury and his employment, and therefore was not entitled to workers' compensation benefits.
What it means:
In Arkansas, where an employee is attempting to establish a compensable rapid repetitive motion injury, the employee must present sufficient evidence that the alleged compensable injury is the major cause of the disability or need for treatment.
A manifold builder for a manufacturing company alleged his hands became swollen and stiff while working, and he was unable to move them. His injury was deemed compensable carpal tunnel syndrome, and he underwent bilateral carpal tunnel releases. He later complained to a doctor of continued pain in his right hand. He later claimed that he suffered an injury to his neck from rapid and repetitive motion when he sustained injury to his hands and that he was misdiagnosed, as the injury was a rapid repetitive back injury rather than carpal tunnel.
The Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of his claim for a rapid repetitive motion injury to the cervical spine, rejecting the builder's doctor's argument that the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and cervical spine injury are the same and are not mutually exclusive.
The court found no causal connection existed because the builder never testified he had any neck strain or neck bending while engaged in his work at the time he brought his claim for the pain in his hands. The court found he failed to provide any evidence, medical or otherwise, indicating his employment was the cause of his neck/back problems. It found no causal connection between the alleged rapid repetitive motion and the builder's cervical spine injury.
June 4, 2009
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