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Workers’ Comp – Medical Benefits – Limitations – Carpal Tunnel

A claimant who reported numbness in his wrists in 2002 and had a diagnosis of nerve damage in his left arm, along with a recommendation from his treating physician that he change jobs, waited too long to file his 2008 workers’ comp claim for bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome; the Court of Appeals says the claim is time-barred and reverses an award of medical benefits.

As the commission found, claimant began experiencing problems with both wrists over five years prior to filing his claim and was told by his physician at that time that it was a work-related condition. Claimant’s awareness of his condition was corroborated by medical records noting a history of carpal tunnel syndrome and from another physician who noted claimant had a five-year history of his condition which had become worse in the last seven months. The commission could not properly conclude claimant satisfied his burden of proof, complying with the statute of limitations. The commission erred in holding the claim was timely filed.

Judgment for claimant reversed.

Gwaltney of Smithfield Ltd. v. Peele (McClanahan, J.) No. 2378-09-1, June 29, 2010; Workers’ Comp. Comm’n; William W. Nexsen for appellants; No brief/argument for appellee. VLW 010-7-251(UP), 5 pp.

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