Back injury from previous work duties?

by Amber
(Lexington, NC)

I worked as a CNA at a hospital and no gait belt, hoyer lift training was available. I was given too many patients to care for 30-64 with babies. I had back problems throughout the years and did not think much of it and doctors did not look into it.

I worked for this company 5 years ago and now I am suffering much nerve damage, muscle spasms, and had right knee surgery too. Lots of heavy lifting, and muscle strain was normal everyday.

I know that this happened a long time ago, but put yourself in my shoes. I can not feel my own back with my hands and I did not know it was as stiff as a board. No one looked into the problem when my back locked up. I did have right knee surgery while I worked there b/c of the conditions.

I have been to physical therapy for over a month now and I have scar tissue/fibrosis from the old incidences in layers in my back. I have proof that my height changed while I worked their from 5'4" to 5'2".

I don't think it's fair for there to be a time limit on injury claims, especially if it really did not start bothering you until your back locked up years later from all the scar tissue. I have lots of documentation, and I also have a friend that worked with me that is also having the same severe problems now. What actions can I take? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Back injury from previous work duties?":

Amber (Lexington, NC):

It has been 5 years since you worked for the hospital as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Unfortunately, the delay in reporting your injuries is problematic. Filing a workers' compensation claim at this point will likely be futile.

If filed now, the insurance company will likely take the position your injuries occurred subsequent to your employment. You will likely be barred from recovering compensation because your claim is filed more than thirty (30) days after your injuries.

According to Section 97-22 Of North Carolina Statutes:

"Notice of accident to employer...

Every injured employee or his representative shall immediately on the occurrence of an accident, or as soon thereafter as practicable, give or cause to be given to the employer a written notice of the accident, and the employee shall not be entitled to physician's fees nor to any compensation which may have accrued under the terms of this Article prior to the giving of such notice, unless it can be shown that the employer, his agent or representative, had knowledge of the accident, or that the party required to give such notice had been prevented from doing so by reason of physical or mental incapacity, or the fraud or deceit of some third person;

but no compensation shall be payable unless such written notice is given within 30 days after the occurrence of the accident or death, unless reasonable excuse is made to the satisfaction of the Industrial Commission for not giving such notice and the Commission is satisfied that the employer has not been prejudiced thereby."

For more information, go to the North Carolina Industrial Commission website.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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