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Upper Extremity Injuries

Workers' Compensation Attorneys in St. Louis

If you have a workers’ compensation claim involving hand, wrist, elbow, or shoulder injury it is advisable to seek the legal help of an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Missouri workers’ compensation does not treat Claimant’s with upper extremity injuries fairly and will underpay you for your injuries if you do not have knowledgeable legal representation familiar with workers' compensation laws.

Wrist, Elbow and Hand Injuries

Your hand and wrist are made up of many small bones in the carpal, the metacarpal and the phalanges, and they also have both the medium and ulnar nerve which can be easily damaged from work injuries. We commonly see carpal tunnel syndrome cases, ulnar nerve transpositions, and other wrist and hand injuries from both trauma and repetitive motion. Because hands and wrists can be fragile, it is important to have an expert testifying to the disability in hand and wrist injury cases.

In Missouri, if you had your hand amputated at the wrist, the permanent partial disability schedule allots for 175 weeks of disability (the number of weeks is increased by 10% for the dismemberment which would qualify you for 197 weeks). The forearm is worth 200 weeks of pay and the elbow is worth 210 weeks of pay. A severe shoulder injury is worth 232 weeks of disability payment. This means that if a person loses an arm at the shoulder the insurance company claims that the victim is only entitled to 232 weeks of disability payment at 2/3 of their salary, sometimes less.

This is not very much money if you sustain a severe injury and workers’ compensation in Missouri does not pay for pain and suffering. It is your personal injury attorney’s job, combined with your efforts, to prove that you have permanent partial disability to that body part caused by the personal injury you sustained. In order to prove disability, your attorney should engage the services of a physician to opine as to the cause of your disability and the percentage of disability you have sustained. At Cantor Injury Law, we advance this expense and you do not need any money to go to our doctor for an evaluation, just like you do not need any money to hire us.

If you have an injury to your hand or wrist, forearm or elbows please call us so we can get you the money that you deserve, the medical attention that you require and the lost wages that you are entitled to under the law. We do this based on a contingency fee and only get paid if we win for you.

Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Injuries

At Cantor Injury Law, we have experience working with individuals who have suffered rotator cuff and shoulder injuries on the job. The rotator cuff in the shoulder is the most complex joint in the body and a rotator cuff injury will affect you for the remainder of your life. It is not uncommon for our clients with rotator cuff injuries to be operated on by an insurance company doctor who then releases the client at maximum medical improvement, when in fact they are continuing to have problems and need more medical care. It has been our experience that rotator cuff injuries are difficult to fix, sometimes involve the bicep and frequently involve the neck.

Rotator Cuff injuries must be handled properly by both the doctor and your lawyer. Often times, conservative insurance company doctors will attempt to endoscopically repair rotator cuff injuries. An endoscopic repair is when the doctor simply makes holes and goes in with a scope in an attempt to do a minor fix. This sometimes works, but rotator cuff injuries frequently require a subsequent “open” procedure, which is where they actually open your shoulder and visualize the injury. Unfortunately, because of the delicacy of the shoulder and rotator cuff, many of our clients have suffered frozen shoulder and other complications as a result of their shoulder injuries. Insurance companies usually do not want to pay for this disability – but they know that they owe for it. Your lawyer should fight to get you the full amount for your rotator cuff injury. Some law firms settle these cases far too quickly. If you have a shoulder injury make sure that the injury is repaired and that you have maximum medical improvement before resolving your workers’ compensation claim.

The Missouri injury lawyers at Cantor Injury Law are experts at handling workers’ compensation cases and if you are accepted as a client, we will do everything in our power to secure you a settlement or an award, even if the insurance company’s position is that your claim is not valid or compensable. It is important to have your law firm engaged in your workers’ compensation case early in the process. Remember, in Missouri the employer chooses the doctors and the medical providers for your workers’ compensation claim. These people are working in favor of the employer from the very beginning. We encourage you to call Cantor Injury Law immediately if you have a workers’ compensation injury so that we can begin protecting your rights as early in the case as possible.

Repetitive Trauma (Carpal tunnel syndrome)

You may be experiencing an injury caused by repetitive trauma. If your job requires you to do the same job over and over again, you may have developed carpal tunnel in the wrists, ulnar tunnel or neuropathies in the elbows, rotator cuff tears and the like. You must report these injuries to a supervisor and demand care. We encourage you to call us immediately if you have a repetitive trauma injury so that we can begin protecting your rights as early in the case as possible.

In order to win these cases you need to engage a law firm that has experience handling them. In carpal tunnel cases, your lawyer must be able to interpret the medical records and secure an independent medical exam from a doctor who will assist you. In other words, your lawyer needs to be able to hire and expert to issue an opinion that work was the prevailing cause of your injury, and not age or degeneration or some other medical condition. You can bet the insurance company doctors are working against you from the moment your injury is reported, so hire us right away. You probably need a nerve conduction study or other procedure, and we may be able to assist you in securing that treatment. Unfortunately, your employer has the advantage in these claims because they choose the treating doctors and the law is written against the worker, and in favor of the employer and their insurance company.

These claims became much more difficult after August 28, 2005 when Missouri’s legislature change the law that work no longer has to be a substantial contributing factor to an injury, but must be “the prevailing cause”. This is a higher standard and makes these cases more difficult. Nonetheless, Cantor Injury Law has both tried and settled these cases with significant payments to our clients.

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, or any other repetitive injury caused by repetitive motion, please call us so we can get you all the medical attention, lost wages, and lump sum payment you deserve for permanent partial disability or permanent total disability.

Disfigurement (Scarring)

I always tell my clients that if they are disfigured beyond their mother’s recognition of them, that the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Division of Workers’ Compensation will only provide them 40 weeks of disfigurement. However, on every case where there is a surgery that is from below the shoulder to the fingertips or from the shirt collar up towards the nose and the face, I always argue for disfigurement in our cases. The general rule is that a person receives about one week of disfigurement per inch of scarring on the arms. Some Judge’s like to give more disfigurement for scars on the face or for other disfiguring marks such as a lighter skin as a result of some trauma or a keloid scarring as a result of surgeries.

A week of disfigurement is calculated at 2/3 (two - thirds) of your average weekly wage, up to the maximum amount. As of 6/30/2011 the maximum you could recover for one week of disfigurement is $418.58.

At Cantor Injury Law, we will not accept a claim based solely on disfigurement, but we will certainly add disfigurement to any claim deserving. For instance, if you have carpal tunnel surgery and you have an open procedure that is usually worth between two and four weeks of additional pay for disfigurement. The same is true with ulnar nerve transpositions and with some rotator cuff tears (only if the surgery is an open procedure, not endoscopic as those scars are usually smaller and above the sleeve area so as not to be compensable for disfigurement purposes.)

Unfortunately, Missouri Workers compensation laws are cheap and benefit the employer. In Missouri, if your scar is on your legs, abdomen, chest, back or anywhere other than your arms from below about the shirt sleeve or your neck and face you are not compensated for that injury. This again is because Missouri Workers’ Compensation favors in large part for the employers and was designed by big business to do exactly that. If you have a scar as a result of a work related injury, we will assist you with being compensated for both the underlying injury as well as the disfigurement which was caused by repairing the underlying injury.

Please call us today so we can get you all the medical attention, lost wages, and lump sum payment you deserve for permanent partial disability or permanent total disability.

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