Workers’ Compensation & Chronic Pain Conditions

Posted by & filed under Workers' Comp.

Approximately 11 percent of Americans – nearly 100,000 people – suffer from pain severe and persistent enough to be called chronic. Many of them sustained such conditions from work injuries or persistent stress on muscles and joints, but at times, it can be extremely difficult for them to collect workers’ compensation or other assistance. If you are a worker diagnosed with chronic pain, you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation if you can prove the antecedents of your injury.

Causes and Effects of Chronic Pain

Significant portions of all chronic pain complaints involve lower back pain; although other common areas are the wrists and neck. Obviously, different pain complaints may appear depending on the nature of the worker’s job, but regardless of where the pain occurs, early intervention is often required to prevent it becoming a long-term issue. For a variety of reasons, including fear of termination, many employees do not report pain or injuries, however – while certainly not all businesses behave in this fashion, there are those that will see an injured employee as a drain on resources and react accordingly.

Chronic pain cannot only be physically debilitating, but it may also trigger psychological consequences. It is a known trigger for depression and anxiety disorders, and very often, will make existing issues worse. This can sometimes play into even more fear, as the employee worries about taking time off for medical treatment or dealing with the symptoms. For example, if a worker injures their back through heavy lifting, and the pain does not go away, they may experience not only physical pain, but also loss of sleep, depression, anger or irritability, and more symptoms that will negatively impact work performance.

Receiving Compensation

The most important factor to keep in mind when attempting to receive compensation for chronic pain issues is that South Carolina law does recognize chronic pain as a condition for purposes of workers’ compensation law. An employer or a physician, who accuses you of faking or exaggerating, or attempts to play off your symptoms as psychosomatic, is not fulfilling their duties under the law.

If you disagree with your employer or your employer’s chosen physician about the treatment or compensation you believe you are owed, you are able to file a request for a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC). You should be aware that in South Carolina, it is possible to receive compensation for a condition that permanently affects your ability to work (as chronic pain can), but it is limited to 500 weeks by law.

Seek Competent Counsel To Help With Your Claim

The workers’ compensation system can be difficult to navigate, especially when you have a chronic condition that may be dismissed or ignored by those who do not know better. Seeking the help of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help cut through the red tape and hasten the process of receiving compensation you may badly need. The skilled North Charleston workers’ compensation attorneys at Callihan & Syracuse are happy to help you through your claim, so you and your family can get back to normal as soon as possible. Contact our office at 843-790-3476 or via our website to set up a free initial consultation.