Musculoskeletal Injuries Drive Employers Crazy
What is it about handling musculoskeletal injuries at work that drive all but the most sophisticated employers, nuts? It’s not just the employer either. It’s the claim rep. too. Walk into any workers compensation claims operation and notify the claims team that they will be divided into two segments. Half will be handling only ‘acute’ injuries (burns, head injury, lacerations etc..) and the other half will only be handling musculoskeletal or cumulative trauma injuries (carpal tunnel, strains/sprains, epicondylitis, etc...). Ask how many of them volunteer to handle only musculoskeletal claims and I’ll bet you’ll hear crickets.
Times Have Changed Since 1911
In 1911, at the birth of workers compensation, there was no such thing as a cumulative trauma claim. Workers compensation was created for ‘real’ injuries, acute injuries like losing your arm or leg. Musculoskeletal injuries were the workers reward for a hard day’s work. It earned the worker the right to spend half their paycheck at the local saloon after the whistle blew on Fridays.
The Six Figure Eye Roll Is Hard To Avoid
Well, today musculoskeletal/cumulative trauma injuries represent more than half of all lost time claims and these claims get expensive, sneaky expensive and become frustrating for the employer and the adjuster. Why? In the case of cumulative trauma claims, nothing happened. No one has ever witnessed a co-worker get carpal tunnel syndrome. There’s no blood, no diagnostic tool that clearly shows the condition. So, instead of compassion for the injured worker, the employer rolls their eyes and oozes suspicion. Suspicion that it didn’t happen at work and guess what, the worker senses their employer’s attitude right away and so the claim game begins…that employer eye roll is probably going to cost their insurer more than six figures.