Showing “Objective Evidence of Injury” In Workers’ Compensation Cases
In order for an injured worker to be eligible for workers’ compensation, they must show “objective evidence of injury,” meaning that “pain and subjective complaints” are not sufficient to establish that a long-term injury has actually taken place. This provision can make some cases much more difficult to prevail in, especially if a worker has sustained an idiopathic injury. If you are in a position where showing “objective evidence of injury” may be a problem in your workers’ compensation case, consulting an attorney may be an important step toward ensuring you will receive the benefits you deserve.
What Is Objective?
When a worker is injured on the job, they must be able to prove their injury is real. The law requires that to do so, they provide evidence that constitutes “objective relevant medical findings” – in other words, medical findings that are confirmed by physical examination or testing that may correlate to the injured worker’s subjective complaints. In many cases, this is not an issue – the findings of the doctor treating your injury will generally support your statements about your injury.
The problem arises when your injury is idiopathic. Idiopathic injuries are those which have no discernible medical cause, or the exact cause cannot be determined to any degree of certainty. Because the cause cannot be determined, no physical evidence technically can be shown to support your subjective statements about your injury. This is common in repetitive stress injury cases, or in cases where chronic pain has manifested.
Stay Away From Subjectivity
While it may seem difficult, it is important for injured workers to try and be as objective as they can be about the injury they have suffered. Complaints of pain or nausea are essentially unquantifiable – one cannot put a number to them very easily, because everyone’s perception of pain in particular is very different. However, they can still cause problems if you do not have objective evidence of your injury, because mere subjective complaints can get you painted as a malingerer or faker, even when your pain may be very real. For example, men have been shown in studies to minimize women’s pain far more than they minimize other men’s – but in reality, a woman may be in significant pain and simply express it differently.
Either way, this type of case is one where enlisting an attorney at an early point may be a good idea. An experienced attorney may have a better idea of how to express subjective pain in a way that helps it bolster your claim, rather than harming it, and can guide you and your loved ones through the time-consuming and complex process of workers’ compensation. The system is not well equipped to serve those whose injuries are not of a particular type, so you may need another voice to help you obtain your benefits.
Call An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
Being injured is frustrating for anyone, but when your injury is not taken seriously, it can make you feel very alone. The Orlando workers’ compensation attorneys at the Hornsby Law Group can ensure that you feel supported as you try to get the benefits you deserve. Contact our office today for a free consultation.