I was using a crimper (that I had complained was too difficult to use) to crimp aluminum sleeves onto a lanyard cable. I usually used a stool to gain more leverage because it pulled on my shoulder muscles if I didn't. However my supervisor, who also is the person responsible for ordering tools, said this was an unsafe practice.
Every time I complained the crimper was too difficult to use she told me she thought it was quite easy. Although I rarely saw her use it. In fact it seemed that was my job whenever I was available. I was using the crimper with both hands without a stool when I felt my right hand crack and then felt shooting pains. I waited a minute or two and tried it again with the same result.
I filled out the injury paperwork and went to a clinic. They said I had a sprained muscle in my thumb. I did physical therapy and developed a popping noise in my wrist. I took prescribed steroids that made me gain 6 pounds in 1 week. I also had an MRI and all it showed was an incidental finding of a ganglion cyst.
I went for a second opinion from my own personal doctor and he said I have early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome and that it would not show up on an MRI.I am now getting shooting pains in both arms.
The clinic released me back to work with no restrictions and my doctor says it will get worse if I continue this job. Since I intend to get a degree in IST (Information Sciences and Technology) I can't afford permanent damage, however I am a single mother with two kids and I can not afford a pay cut. What can I do?
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ANSWER for "Repetitive Stress Injury...":
Although your facts didn’t specifically mention workmans compensation, we will presume your company had workmans compensation insurance at the time of your injury.
You have already seen at least two doctors. The first was at a clinic and the second was your own private doctor. Neither of them concluded you were disabled to a degree which would limit your ability to work at your job as a “crimper”.
If you are covered under your employer’s workmans compensation policy then you have a right to see at least one or more of the doctors on your employers “approved” list. Seeing another doctor may help to determine if your injury is one which is debilitating.
You also mentioned a diagnosis of the early stages of carpel tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately thousands of people in the United States and abroad suffer from the early stages of carpel tunnel syndrome. Just about any person who works typing on a keyboard for more than 5 hours at any one time may suffer from the early stage of carpel tunnel syndrome.
The origin of ganglion systems is unknown. To date they have not been linked to such actions as typing or “crimping”. The cysts are not dangerous nor do they multiply or metastasize. You can either have the cyst ruptured or drained.
Regrettably, unless you are working under a written contract of employment your employer can terminate your employment if you are unable to work.
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.
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