It is time to address a topic about causal relation in a workers comp case. This case involves a teacher and school aid in a library, where the desktop computer is being replaced by a laptop. Soon after the switch, both employees begin to complain about neck pain since the height of the monitor on the laptop could not be adjusted from person to person, and extended use was causing some neck pain. The insured wondered if the change to a laptop was causing the neck problems and if these would be considered as workers compensation cases. We discuss the investigation of causal relation here.
- What does the treating doctor say in the medical records?
- Does either employee have a history of neck pain from another source?
- Is the workstation adjustable or not?
At the same time the claim is investigated by the adjuster, the incidents should be reported to the safety director who should review the workstation design. Consider having an ergonomic consultant review the set up. Ask your TPA or insurance carrier what resources are available for ergonomic consulting. Consider what other equipment could be provided to make the work station more comfortable.
- Has the adjuster performed an IME or peer review yet?
- What is the decision–is this compensable or not?