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What if work for your employer caused osteoarthritis in one of your joints? Can you sue your employer for causing your osteoarthritis?

While suing may be rare, you can still hold your employer and others financially responsible for your arthritis through a worker’s compensation claim.

Our attorneys at Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, have decades of experience with workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.

We can hold the appropriate parties responsible for your pain and maximize your financial recovery after an injury. 

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis that affects more than 32 million adults in the United States.

This ailment involves the breakdown of joint cartilage and bone changes that can incapacitate and cause significant pain.

Osteoarthritis is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis, so it’s often connected with work injuries. 

An Employer’s Liability Under Workers’ Compensation

If an employee sustains an injury that arises out of and is the direct result of their work, their employer is liable for their medical care and compensation for related disabilities and related lost wages.

This type of work injury is called a “compensable injury.” The development or aggravation of arthritis can be a compensable injury.

In Haileab v. John Q. Hammons Hotels, the Court of Appeals of North Carolina found that an injured employee’s osteoarthritis was compensable because her medical records proved that it was likely that her original work injury caused her to develop arthritis. 

Even if you had an arthritis diagnosis before you started work for your employer, your employer could be liable for the worsening of your condition.

Proving the connection between your arthritis and your work is complex and difficult, so it’s best to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to handle your claim. 

An Employer’s Liability in a Civil Lawsuit

In general, an employee’s only legal recourse against their employer for a work injury is the workers’ compensation system.

This is how the state has set things up, and it comes with positives and negatives.

This exclusive remedy is positive because you don’t have to prove your employer was at fault for your injury to receive benefits.

You have to prove only that your work caused your injury. But this exclusivity has a downside because you don’t have access to the level of damages available in civil cases. 

In rare cases, employees can sue their employers in civil court for their work injuries.

The case Bullard v. Peak Steel, LLC noted that you can sue your employer for work-related injuries (including arthritis) if: 

  • Your employer intentionally caused your injury or 
  • Your employer knowingly engaged in misconduct that was substantially certain to cause serious injury or death.

But if a third party was responsible for your work injury, you have the option of filing a workers’ compensation claim and suing that third party for negligence.

Filing a lawsuit and workers’ compensation claim at the same time does affect the amount of your civil award or settlement.

Once again, handling this type of case without an attorney is difficult. 

Our Attorneys Know How to Hold the Right Parties Accountable

When it comes to fighting for just compensation in a work injury case, experience is one of the most important assets.

At Mehta & McConnell, our attorneys have more than 30 years of combined experience.

Not only do we have experience fighting for victims of personal and workplace injuries, but we also have experience working for defendants in personal and work injury cases.

We work exclusively for plaintiffs now, but our experience gives us strategic advantages against our clients’ opponents.

We know how to fight, and we get results.

If you need to see results in your work injury case, call us at 980-447-2114 or contact us online. 

Author Photo

Viral Mehta

Viral Mehta is the managing attorney of Mehta & McConnell Injury Lawyers, a Charlotte, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation law firm. He enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, sports, and reading.

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