UPS Drivers With Repetitive Stress Injuries
Driving a UPS truck can result in repetitive stress injuries. Often, operating these trucks requires the driver to maintain control of the truck at high speeds, use the steering wheel to fight the pull of the road, and keep his foot on the accelerator or brake. UPS drivers with repetitive stress injuries may be eligible for benefits under the Illinois workers’ compensation system if their injuries are work-related. Call the Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to schedule a consultation.UPS Drivers with Repetitive Stress Injuries
Drivers with repetitive stress injuries can experience swelling, tenderness, pain, tingling, numbness, stiffness, throbbing, weakness, and increased sensitivity to heat or cold. Sometimes these symptoms start out mild and intermittent but become more intense and long-lasting over time. They may inhibit your ability to drive or perform other activities. Initially, doctors prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat the repetitive stress injury and instruct you to rest, apply ice, compress and elevate the affected area. Sometimes, physicians will recommend physical therapy or the administration of steroid injections. A splint may be put in place to protect the affected muscles and tendons. However, some injuries may require surgery.Medical Benefits for UPS Drivers with Repetitive Stress Injuries
Workers’ compensation insurance should pay for any reasonable and necessary medical care. The severity of your symptoms will dictate the treatment needed for your repetitive stress injuries. Some people improve once they rest and can use mild methods to minimize pain. However, if there is a problem nerve or tendon, your treating doctor may recommend you undergo surgery. Your employer’s insurer may ask you to go to an independent medical exam (IME) to see whether the surgery is truly necessary. Going to an IME that your employer has ordered is mandatory.
The name “independent medical exam” is a bit misleading. The doctor who conducts an IME is not truly independent but selected and paid for by the insurer. In most cases, insurers try to save money by working with doctors that have a record of being conservative in their treatment recommendations and siding with employers and insurers when a dispute about care arises. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can guide you through this process, advocate on your behalf, and make sure the company and insurer are provided the benefits to which you are entitled.Disability Benefits
Sometimes repetitive stress injuries are not mediated by NSAIDs and a day or two of rest, ice, compression and elevation. If you are unable to drive a UPS truck due to your work-related repetitive stress injury, you may be able to obtain temporary total disability benefits. These benefits equal 2/3rds of your average weekly wage. You will not be paid for the first three days off work unless you are off work for at least 14 days, at which point you can be retroactively paid benefits for the first three days.Vocational Rehabilitation
In some cases, serious repetitive stress injuries leave UPS drivers unable to perform the same work. Under Section 8(a) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, the employer should pay for vocational rehabilitation. It may be appropriate to request vocational rehabilitation so that you can return to an appropriate job.
Vocational rehabilitation services may include job counseling, job training, modification, and job replacement. In order to qualify for vocational rehabilitation, you will need to get an opinion from your treating doctor that states you have permanent work limitations. You’ll need to try to get a job and show you can’t get a job with your physical limitations. If you lose your earning ability due to a work-related injury, and vocational rehabilitation would increase your earning ability, you should be able to obtain this benefit.Retain a Seasoned Attorney in Chicago
If you are a UPS driver with a work-related repetitive stress injury, you should discuss your situation with the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our firm represents injured UPS drivers in Aurora, Chicago, Quincy, Champaign, and Rockford, along with Winnebago, Cook, Adams, Sangamon, and Kane Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.